Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vulnerable

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio


 
 
"He will be the sure foundation

for your times,

a rich store of salvation

and wisdom and knowledge;
 
the fear of the Lord is the key

to this treasure."
 
—Isaiah 33:6




It has been a on going journey for me to become more open and honest and to allow myself to be vulnerable. I can't say I have totally arrived but I can say that I am more open and vulnerable than I have been in the past. It is easy when we have been hurt to put a brick wall around our heart.

I love this portion of the Velveteen Rabbit  I've added a link to a digital version of the story.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day,

when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender,

before Nana came to tidy the room.

"Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.

When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you,

then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

"When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time.

That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges,

or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real,

most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose

in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real

you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it,

for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago;

but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."


One of my guitar students is working on the song called I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel. He is not from a Christian family and we had the opportunity to discuss the song. I asked him "What is one word you could use to describe the person in this song". "Lonely" he finally replied. We went on to discuss how unforgiveness and bitterness were what held this man in this lonely place. We talked about how this was not a good way to choose to live.  



"I've built walls, A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island." ~ Paul Simon


Sadly many people choose to respond to hurt by building a fortress around their heart. I know I have lived behind my own walls too long. It is easy for me to trust God. He has always been there for me. He has never left or forsaken or betrayed me. People on the other hand are hard for me to trust. I admit that I trust people at varied levels. I have decided somewhere along the way it is better to risk the possibility of pain, disappointment and grief at the hands of people than to miss out on love, friendship, joy...

Even in the best of relationships people grow old and die and we suffer the loss of that person.

We have to press through those fears of being hurt to experience the joy of knowing, loving, and caring.


Many people look at God as the one to distrust. It is God in their mind who has let them down. It is God who has denied them the things they have wanted. If God is all powerful - why doen't he do something to change my circumstance. They forget that we live in a fallen world. Things and people in this world are messed up and broken. Because of their hurt and brokenness they often pass that hurt along to others. People do wrong and destructive things to others, even to people they are supposed to love. Even Christians make poor choices and don't live up to God's kingdom way of living. God is working. In the fullness of time He sent Jesus. 


 1 Matthew 18:1-5 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,

“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.

 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change

and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child

is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes

one such child in my name welcomes me.



Children are trusting and vulnerable. They say what's on their mind, they are not worried about what others think, they have a sense of wonder and playfulness, children are adaptable. curious, imaginative, spontaneous, they view life as an adventure. They are like sponges they learn and they develop and they try new things. We are to trust God as a little child trusts a loving parent. They are humble and innocent. Sometimes they are fearful, and they can be self absorbed and selfish.


I like this story by William Hendrikson I think it gives a glimpse into the mind of a child.
A merchant had a pile of gold coins outside his windowsill with a sign, “Take One.”
All day long people passed by thinking, “this guy can’t fool me.” Evening fell and the owner was about to remove the pile. But just before he did, a child came by, read the sign and calmly and without the least hesitancy, took one.”


Children are trusting, they take things at face value. I have a friend who has a small child and she is sometimes frustrated when her little child seems to be testing and trying all the rules. I had to explain to her that when little children do that it is because they sense that some boundary has changed. We need to know where the boundaries lie to feel safe and secure. If one boundary line moved a child will try all the others to know where the lines have been drawn. It is not usually that I child wants to go beyond the boundaries but needs to know where they are now lie in order to feel safe. I know for myself I need to know where my boundaries are in order to be creative. There are times when then the borders must expand because I have grown.  Just because God knows a child will grow to be an adult does not mean that God makes us wear adult size clothes. God gives us boundaries that fit us presently. Much like I take my children shopping for new clothes and shoes several times during the year because they have grown. The old clothes no longer fit.  We come to God with a childlike trust, a hunger to learn, a sense of wonder, a sense of adventure and playfulness. God takes us where we are and fits the boundaries for us. He does not give us a one size fits all robe of righteousness. He taylor fits it to our particular stage of development, to our individual gifts and callings.


Perhaps it is time for a change of clothing. Yours may have gotten worn and may no longer fit. Allow God to replace the old rags with something that is the right size for you now.

I found this quote that I like.


"When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would

no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability...

To be alive is to be vulnerable." ~ Madeleine L'Engle


Vulnerability is like faith it must stretch and grow. There have been times that I have wished that I was not always having to walk by faith. I thought that at some point I would reach a level of faith that I would no longer need faith. Only to reach that thing I had walked by faith to reach and discover there is always a new journey of faith.  I have come to see that with out faith you can't please God. It is part of the way of life for the believer.  Life in the Kingdom requires faith, it also requires a child like trust and vulnerability. In the life of a believer these things are always stretching and growing.

I must learn to trust more, to be more open, to be more honest, to be more forgiving... these things are always expanding but God generally moves the boundaries a little bit at a time.


Sometimes he lets us project ahead to see a dream or a vision of a life or a ministry or a calling. It always seems too big. It generally looks impossible otherwise it would not require faith. He may even allow us to play dress up in clothes that are way to big for us. Like a little child I realize someday they will fit me in the mean time the Lord allows me to play in the palm of His hand, loved as the apple of His eye, safe with in the boundaries that He has laid for me in pleasant place.  I am thankful everyday for His care. That I can run to Him when I am hurting, that washes me when I fall in the mud and muck of sin, that He binds and heals my wounds. That He loves and accepts me today - just as I am.


Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Help us to take down the brick walls around our hearts. Help us learn to trust you like a little child. Renew in us a sense of wonder, and playfulness.Help us to restore those childlike qualities that are pleasing to you. Help us to trust and to be willing to take the risk of being vulnerable again.

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