by Emily Conrad
I was asked to speak at a women’s event held at my church last month. I spoke in a manner similar to how I write on the blog without a second thought, but wow.
When I finished, I realized how very different blogging is from revealing the journey God has had me on to a live audience of people I know and see every week.
As I left the microphone, I found myself wanting to explain more about why I said what I’d said. Not that I’d noticed an error in what I’d said about the verses we studied, but because I wanted to make sure they thought the right things about me. I wanted them to be assured I’m not broken.
Almost immediately, I commented on how I was feeling to a friend, and she used the word, “vulnerable.”
Whew. Yes. That was exactly how I felt. And I’m feeling that way again now–vulnerable to the extent that as I thought about what I wanted to write about this week, the word vulnerability kept coming back to me again and again.
So, let’s talk about it.
This last weekend, I finished a manuscript I’ve been working on for most of the year. The story is different than my others, and as I wait to hear what the first couple of readers think, I’ve felt the vulnerability. Do my characters reflect badly on me? Are my friends going to feel the need to sit me down for a heartfelt intervention?
In both cases, I was/am concerned about what people think of me. Will I be accepted and understood? Will people see me as unqualified and broken? How do I find peace now, as I wait to hear back, and in the future, if the responses aren’t what I hope they will be?
How can you find peace when you, too, follow Jesus into a brave adventure and realize you’ve let on to a little more about yourself than you meant to? Can we still stand tall when there’s a good chance our imperfections will show?
I think the answer is not only that yes, we can, but yes, we should.
Because it was never our perfection that mattered, nor is it acceptance and understanding from others that determines our worth or our calling.
When we come to God through Christ, we are accepted by our Creator, and it’s to Him that we’re ultimately accountable.
Before I open my mouth or type a word, God already knows I’m unqualified and broken. He called me anyway.
He’s working on me, and though I long for perfection and seek to follow Him, I will never be free of vulnerabilities in my lifetime. In fact, even if I could somehow reach perfection, people would still judge and reject me.
We are all always vulnerable. In areas where we fail, in areas where we haven’t.
Yet we’re called to press on. To serve and be part of the body of Christ. If people see the vulnerable, unfinished side of us, so be it, but let them also see us pointing to Jesus as Lord.
When we remember to focus on glorifying God, the vulnerabilities we feel because of perfectionism and people-pleasing find their healing in grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9, NET
We can be vulnerable as we follow our callings because we’re not here to look like we have it all together or to impress people. We’re here to point to Jesus.
We can work toward each endeavor God gives us like our imperfections don’t define us, because they don’t. Jesus does, and His grace is enough.
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Woman holding small lantern photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash
Woman holding string of lights photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash
People want real. You gave them a gift in your vulnerability. Great post, Emily!
Thank you, Amy! 🙂
I feel the same way too, whenever I put my words out there. Whether it's a blog or book or whatever. I always wonder how it's going to come across. But I'm not responsible for that part and I love this post reminding me of that! God will do whatever He wants with my words, and if I come across looking foolish or broken in the meantime, so be it. Thanks Emily!
I like your perspective, Katie! You're so right. Our job is to be faithful and let God take care of the outcome. So hard to do sometimes. Thanks for joining the conversation!
I read this verse today…"I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1a I hear a precious "possessiveness" in God's voice there. He really loves us deeply, perfectly…just as we are. Moving post, Emily!
Thanks. I needed to hear this message!
I LOVE Isaiah 43, Mary! Thank you for reminding me of that today.
I'm glad the message came at a good time for you, Anne. It was one I needed, too! Thanks so much for reading. <3
Hey Emily, God shines brightest when she shines through our cracks, our vulnerability. Great post!