Tuesday, September 27, 2011

{ A Door Ajar }

I slip into a chair  mid-row, alone, breathless from a morning of nonstop running. Mike is busy "putting out fires," as volunteer leads frequently must; he'll try to catch the next service. I curl fingers around paper cup. Coffee's getting cold.

Pastor Mark is talking about Jesus' close friends, Peter and Judas. They both betrayed Him. He loved them anyway. He opened His heart to Peter, Peter who denied he know Jesus in His darkest hour, Peter who left Him, Peter who abandoned and betrayed Him at His weakest. Jesus still gave His trust to Peter, He still extended vulnerability to Peter, even after Peter disowned Him. Even after so much broken trust, He was vulnerable with Peter. He entrusted to Peter the shepherding of His church.

Jesus didn't let past betrayal and abandonment define His relationships.

Heart heaves in chest.

This, this ugly pain, I know it well. I never thought I'd be one scarred by broken relationships. Yet I am. Yesterday in Redemption Group I cried in front of perfect strangers, that embarrassing sob-cry that catches in the throat and makes words come out askew, talking about how this fear that chokes my life. This fear of being vulnerable. This desperate attempt to be invulnerable and free of needs, because to need--to be imperfect--is to open yourself to assistance from others, others who may hurt you where you are most vulnerable.

Jesus doesn't just know. He faces the choice to be vulnerable and does Yes. He opens His heart to weak and flawed and sin-drenched people. Every time, He says Yes.

I finger rim of cup. I don't usually say Yes. And yet I loathe the prison of isolation and false perfection that No builds, the strangling hold that sucks away breath and leaves me gasping alone.

Two days later, our pastor's wife shares a link to Ann Voskamp's words here, and I hear Him again, wooing me soft toward the freedom of Yes. Three days, three nudges, three invitations to dwell with Him in a place of trust.

Part of that is here. Even this, the writing and selecting "publish post," it is hard for she who wants to present a flawless and competent facade of self-sufficiency. I wrestle to reveal my true self, and it's easier to do so through the impersonal computer screen that face-to-face with people whose reactions I cannot control.

I am walking down a road I've long avoided. I say this not to be prideful, but to humbly acknowledge the fears and attempts to control that have shaped me and to say No more! I can begin here. I can begin to crack open the doors of my heart and say, Welcome, friend. You are welcome here, in my little patch of cyberspace. I am so glad you are here. Thank you for walking with me. My steps are wobbly, and I'm not sure where this road will take us, but welcome.


  1. This is beautiful. You are beautiful. I know I only know you "one weekend worth" but I love the privilege of reading your heart here. Thank you for that!

  2. Thank you for the invitation, Nikki. I accept. :o) You say this all so well, and my heart identifies and says yes, I can relate, it is hard but good to go where God calls even when everything in me says stay home and be safe. I am so glad you are in RG - I look forward to walking that road with you this quarter. Thank you for your open vulnerability - love you!

    Also - you've probably seen those t-shirts that say "She who must be obeyed." I'm thinking I need one that says, "She who wants to present a flawless and competent facade of self-sufficiency" - just to keep it real - those probably aren't for sale anywhere though...!

  3. I'm in this same boat. And just let me say how hard it is! I'm so struggling with the being vulnerable to a friend and being teased about this weakness. It's hard not to take it in the wrong way and all you want to do it close the door and walk away. Yet a person wants to have some friends they can be "real" with, right? Oh my. Such a circle. Thank you for being honest and real and open. I'm right there along beside you. <3

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  5. 'Yes' is scary when risk is involved. for. sure. I'm so glad your little patch of cyberspace is here, and that you are sharing those deep wrestlings, I know He uses your experiences to bless and encourage others (me for one!) And if I could see you in person I would give you a huge hug.

  6. I relate to this - as in, every-single-word-completely.

    Thank you for your willingness to click that scary little publish button. :) So many of us are in this boat, and yet we hide...

    You are such a beautiful lady.

  7. Oh, Nikki, this post seriously has me in tears. As Wendi already wrote, "I can relate to this- as in, every-single-word-completely." God has been talking to me so much lately about being more vunerable, about not being fearful of getting my heart hurt, of trusting Him, trusting friends. But it is so so hard. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here, sweet friend. It is so encouraging to me to know that I am not alone. Thank you for being brave and honest. You are so encouraging to me!

  8. I didn't expect to cry over my coffee this morning! This is so beautiful, Nikki! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing from such a deep place.. Really raw and beautiful.. Wow.