hope & encouragement

A Self-Protected Heart

God has been speaking to me about the subject of vulnerability. Maybe you think it’s not an issue for me, since I pretty much put myself out there on this blog quite often. True, but it’s somehow easy (for the most part) for me to write about most things. Being willing to make myself vulnerable is something that I’m just now realizing is something that I really need to work on.

There are some things that have been bothering me a great deal lately – so much that I have felt weighed down by them. I have been praying about this for what seems like so long, but I only keep finding myself hurt over and over again.  As I thought about my situation, I realized I had 2 options:

  1. Let my heart become hardened and bitter and shut my feelings down like I always used to do. If I don’t care about something, I won’t hurt anymore (ok, not true – but sometimes it feels like a good option when I’m hurting).
  2. Hand this completely over to God each time I feel the sting of it all again (which lately is daily) and trust that He will handle it.  Don’t shut down, just hand it over to Him.

The second option is obviously the road I must take, even though it is the most painful at the moment. A while back, I felt so overwhelmed with all of this that I felt overtaken by it all. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and approached someone about something that was on my heart to do. For whatever reason, I was never given a response, and (several weeks later) still haven’t been given one. I became so upset with myself for making myself vulnerable, because it just caused me to be hurt again.

I asked my husband to pray for me, because I was just feeling so weighed down by it all. As he was praying, I was starting to feel a little relieved of all of the overwhelming feelings that were weighing on me – until all of a sudden my husband prayed,

Lord, I thank you that Amy is becoming more vulnerable. I pray that You tear down the wall around her heart that has caused he to be so guarded, and I thank You that You are teaching her how to be vulnerable…

At that point, I stopped listening to what he was saying, because all I could think was, “Nooooooo!!!!!!”  I didn’t want to be vulnerable… to anyone.  (Ok, so that’s a huge red flag.)

  • What if I show my feelings to someone and they are not reciprocated?
  • What if I fail (again)?
  • What if I let my guard down and look like a fool?
  • What if I continue to embrace the idea of true intimacy with my husband and I get hurt?
  • If I love my children too much, how will I feel when they leave someday?
  • What if put myself out there and I’m rejected?

Then I started to wonder, if I’m so resistant to becoming vulnerable, how has this affected my relationship with God?

Since that night, I have been seeing so many situations that I have handled with a guarded heart. There are people I haven’t talked to or approached, because I was afraid to make myself vulnerable. There are things I would have done in my life if I wasn’t afraid of making myself vulnerable. This has affected the intimacy I have with my husband. This has affected how close I am with my children. This has affected the quality and closeness of many of my friendships. This has affected the intimacy I have with Jesus. The list goes on and on.

Intimacy requires vulnerability.

I am so thankful that God showed me this, even though it’s been difficult. This is something that is going to transform many of my relationships. I am most excited about how it will affect my relationship with my husband, my children and God. I have been in a self-insulated protective shell for as long as I can remember, and God is slowly chipping away at it now. It is not easy, and it’s definitely scary at times. I am so excited to see the transformation that comes out of this! Thank you, Jesus, for exposing this and showing me that you haven’t called me to protect myself in this way. Self-insulation is false protection.  Jesus is my only true Protector.

What could happen if I let myself be vulnerable and trust God with this part of my heart?

  • I could experience true intimacy with my husband in ways I never knew was possible.
  • God could use me in ways I never dreamed of.
  • My relationship with my children could grow and deepen beyond my wildest dreams.
  • My friendships would become so much more rich and even more rewarding.
  • I would find the joy I can’t find while guarding my heart.
  • I would fall more deeply in love with Christ and know His love for me like never before.

Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable, or have you put a wall up to protect yourself from pain?

We can spend so much time imagining the “what if’s” in fear of being vulnerable, but imagine the possibilities God could open up in your life if you let God tear that wall down…

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4 thoughts on “A Self-Protected Heart

  1. Ahh… the overly guarded heart. That used to be me. I joke that I lived in the tower of a castle surrounded with walls, a moat and a fire breathing dragon. And sometimes I want to go back to that place. But it was a lonely place. False security. And actually paralyzing. If we can’t tear down the walls and open our hearts it will be hard to be fully used by God.

    The more vulnerable I become, the more I enjoy this life. The more meaningful it becomes. Yes, I still get hurt and I hate it. But I’d rather live with hurt from time to time than live in that castle tower. 🙂

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