Ever have it where someone asks you a question and your mind goes completely blank? Like, no matter how hard you try, you can’t think of an answer even though you know you know the answer? That was me when I was asked to be a part of this community and write a blog. It took me weeks to think of something worth writing about.  If I’m honest I sort of have negative feelings towards blogs. I think it’s because it’s becoming more and more of “the thing to do” and as much as I am a supporter of everybody having their own voice, I think some of us don’t need to voice every single thing we think. So here I am… writing a blog… exposing my thoughts to the world!

It’s funny, I was talking with a good friend a few weeks back about vulnerability and opening up to people that we feel are safe. A little history about me, I am the Worship Pastor at my church in a little beach town called Penticton. I was recently invited to speak at my church and most would think that for someone who is in front of the congregation almost every Sunday singing, this should be no problem. But it actually made me want to throw up and the thought of it still makes me a little sick. For me, singing in front of crowds doesn’t really bother me anymore. I could lead a whole worship service and not really give it a second thought. But the idea of having to open up to people and actually speak what’s on my heart and be vulnerable, I would rather do anything else!

It got me thinking as to why it is so tough for us to be vulnerable with each other. Maybe it’s because some of us have tried to be vulnerable in the past which resulted in a negative, hurtful reaction. Maybe for others it’s because it requires a lot of mental energy. Maybe some of us have low self-esteem and don’t believe people would be interested. I know a big thing that holds a lot of us back from being vulnerable is shame, either resulting from past mistakes or just an unhealthy identity we have for ourselves.

Shame is such a nasty little guy. It gets into every area of our lives and it likes to have its say in everything we do. I would even go as far to say that shame, if it’s resulting from a form of addiction or mistake, is more harmful than the actual act itself. It creates an isolation in us, and makes our failure look so much bigger than it is, which ends up resulting in us not wanting to be vulnerable and open up to those close to us since we fear that we will be met with the same thing we are being told in our minds.

But believe me when I tell you from my own experience that it is almost never the case. In fact, when I opened up to some of my close friends about what I was experiencing, I found out that many of them were actually going through the exact same thing! And suddenly, this shame cloud I was experiencing started to diminish. It’s power and hold over my thoughts and view of myself began to lose its strength and I was able to step into the freedom and clarity that God intended for me. I love how Isaiah 50:7 says, “But the Lord God keeps me from being disgraced. So I refuse to give up, because I know God will never let me down.” God is on our side and He will never leave! As scary as it is to be vulnerable with people, I believe it almost always results in a new level of freedom and a clearer view of who we really are in Christ.

I’m not saying we have to open up to every single person and air out our dirty laundry. In fact, I believe we need to be very careful and discerning with who we allow into our inner circle. But let me encourage you to be vulnerable and honest and raw with those you are close to you. I am nowhere near perfect at doing this. I am so far from expert at opening up to people, it freaks me out. But I know God intended us to be in community with each other. I know that it scares the enemy when we are vulnerable because it means that the hold that shame has over us loses its power.

We’re all in this together girls! xoxo

Melissa Hartmann