Devotional · Stay Sane

Exposure: Enriching Relationships With Vulnerability

Exposing our hearts can be uncomfortable. Especially when it involves our spouses, friends, God, and even ourselves. Vulnerability has the ability to enrich our relationships and the results are beautiful. 



Vulnerability. There’s that word. I shiver when I hear it and cringe at the thought of opening up. I need the comfort of my couch and a warm cup of coffee; STAT!

Over these last few weeks, God has pushed me to learn one specific lesson: exposure. One thing that is incredibly difficult for me to do is speak my mind. To verbally expose feelings I have. There are two reasons I have difficulty in this area. One: confrontations make me uncomfortable. Two: I NEVER want others to feel uncomfortable because of me.

So why is “exposure” my lesson from God? It might be that 8 years is the exact time it takes for me to confront real issues within my marriage. Maybe it’s because of the adult friendships I am learning to navigate. Or, I’m finally understanding the importance of being vulnerable with myself. Perhaps, my spiritual growth in the Lord is drawing me towards a posture of exposure. I’m certain, these all apply.

Exposing our hearts can be uncomfortable. Especially when it involves our spouses, friends, God, and even ourselves. Vulnerability has the ability to enrich our relationships and the results are beautiful.

Types of Vulnerability

Marriage Vulnerability

One thing “they” don’t tell us about marriage: we will sooner or later be completely exposed. Yeah, we all know about physical exposure, but no one tells us our insides are completely laid bare for our spouse to see. This is something extremely uncomfortable for me.

When you are living every day of your life with someone, it’s inevitable they will see sides of you that no ones else sees…

My husband hears my true voice, sees my true reactions, and witnesses my most vulnerable moments. He sees the food I eat, the shows I watch, and when I have a booger hanging out of my nose. He’s seen me cry uncontrollably and that one time I punched something. Okay, maybe a couple times.

Because he sees all this, I feel the need to keep some things hidden. Something! Anything! I feel like I need to keep some sort of dignity. Or, that thing that is just too painful; it’s mine.

Relational Vulnerability

In any relationship, there is hurt. In my experience, pain comes most intensely when I’ve been unguarded, only to be rejected. Sometimes this happens instantly, but mostly this is a damage over time effect. Meaning, we slowly allow others a glimpse inside. Then, wham!! Which feels like complete betrayal.

My gut reaction if someone hurts me, is to walk away or distance myself. The flight response is strong in me. I build those walls, create boundaries, and mask my feelings. I hold on tight; they are mine.

Personal Vulnerability

I’m not sure about you, but I also build borders to keep myself away. Kind of like I’m refusing to be honest with myself. It’s uncomfortable to go there; to push through self-inflicted pain and allow healing.

Being vulnerable with ourselves, is to be completely raw with honesty. To acknowledge our part in the pain. It’s mine. No one else can see it, so why should I have to be brutally honest? Yeah, that’s not super fun for anyone, but it’s vital.

Spiritual Vulnerability

My past is so filthy, my sin too great, my road so dark…. I’m not sure what makes me think this is all mine. If I’ve truly given my life to God, all of it is His. Every dirty, sinful moment is used for His glory. It’s called testimony.

However, I often find myself trying to hide from God. If I have to endure one more probing of the Spirit, I may just implode. Not really, but we all know there’s a lesson to learn when we are vulnerable with the Lord. Most times, I’m a child and I fight against lesson learning.

My past is so filthy, my sin too great, my road so dark... If I've truly given my life to God, all of it is His. Every dirty, sinful moment is used for His glory. It's called testimony. Click To Tweet

Responding Vulnerably

So how do we overcome? We can all benefit from practical application. We need to know what to do. We need to let go of the “mines” to strengthen every meaningful relationship we care for…

Humility

Saying “I’m sorry” is so incredibly vulnerable. It proves we are human. It proves we are NOT perfect (gasp). We hurt the people we love, the God who created us, and even ourselves. I have this rule: if you feel sorry, just say it. It shows you are thinking of the other person’s feelings, apart from their words. Also, repentance is the key to our relationship with God.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3, NIV

Prayer

This one is easy to apply to our relationship with God, but what about our marriages? What about our friendships? How often do we kneel with our spouses or start a coffee date with a prayer? Do we pray for each other face to face? I find it easy to pray for others, but shy away from praying for things I know I need help with.

Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them.

1 Timothy 2:1, TLB

Scripture

Another easy one to incorporate in our walk with God. Maybe a little easier to have Bible time with our families, but what about our friendships? Do we approach times spent together with bible studies and scriptures close to our hearts? We should tackle issues and problems with the Truth of God.

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV

Alone Time

I find this most easy with my husband. Others find alone time with the Lord easiest. I find it most difficult to spend quality, one on one time with a friend. Mostly because…children. I would say, focus on a relationship where you know this is lacking. Even alone time with yourself (self-care).

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.

1 Corinthians 14:26, NIV

Working/Creating Together

I often forget that my ability to work and create comes from the Lord. When I say forget, I mean I don’t invite Him to help me or be a part of it. Allowing my husband to create with me, or see an unfinished work of art is completely vulnerable to me. The same is true in friendships. My creations are very dear to me (whatever it is) and I feel exposed showing others.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24, NIV

Common Ground

In almost all my relationships, salvation is a common ground. Testimonies are meant to be shared. My testimony is growing. God is shaping and molding it. I believe, with all of my heart, that my testimony glorifies Him…as long as I’m obedient and share it.

I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation and testify of the wonderful things you have done.

Psalm 22:22, TLB

I urge all of us to evaluate how we can actively utilize vulnerability to strengthen and enrich our relationships. I know, without a doubt, our obedience to the Lord’s design, will create beautiful, fulfilling friendships.

Exposing our hearts can be uncomfortable. Especially when it involves our spouses, friends, God, and even ourselves. Vulnerability has the ability to enrich our relationships and the results are beautiful.

wayne dahlberg

Written by Katie
I'm a high functioning introvert, coming to terms with the fact that life is better together. Healing my idea of friendship and relationship has given me the confidence to step out of comfort and into true community. Isolation used to be my identity, but helping others find safety in coming together is what motivates me.

I believe healing and redemption are obtainable for every single person and true peace is found when we accept our freedom in Christ. Creating, listening, and finding common ground are my God-given strengths. I pray I can use these to prove there is light in darkness, hope in despair, and value in imperfection.

13 thoughts on “Exposure: Enriching Relationships With Vulnerability

  1. This is such a great post, Katie! Maybe you should just move your family out to Iowa and we can learn to be vulnerable together! This is hard stuff. I completely get the desire to keep some of the junk to myself and keep it as “mine”. It’s an area God’s showing me to let go of and open up to more people around me.

    1. I would love nothing more than to be closer to all those I’ve created relationships with, via the web! I’m always making this comment to my husband (probably everyday). “I know we would be such good friends!!”

  2. People who are transparent are healthier because they don’t stuff things down and repress them. It’s much better to be known and loved for who we are. I like how you say that all of our mistakes are part of our beautiful testimony, and that transforms all of it into good.

  3. When we come vulnerable and bring everything to God and let it be in the light… He can make beauty come from even the worst of our failures. Love this lady!

    1. Letting all our mistakes and failures bring glory to God is the most important part of testimony! May His light shine on all our dark nooks and crannies.

  4. I think vulnerability is critical for growing and deepening relationships. I’ve found that the relationships that only are surface-level don’t hold much value to me!

    1. I’m right there with you and feel the same way! It’s very important to me to be able to trust those I consider to be friends… but the only way I truly know I can trust someone, is by opening up about my story. What they do with that, tells a lot about the type of friend they will be. <3

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Kat! I only have a select few too… but I know one day, God will call me to share my testimony with a lot more people. This sounds super scary to me, but obedience to God is less scary than running away from Him. <3

  5. Vulnerability is hard stuff. Still find it difficult to admit some things to my wife about me, my past or even my opinion on issues.

    It takes courage and sometimes a method of delivery that fits the circumstances.

    Thanks for this.

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