Thursday, February 18, 2016

Being Vulnerable - by Heidi McLaughlin

I believe we are afraid of being vulnerable because we all have “dark corners.”  If someone knew this thing about us what would they think? Would they still like us or will it create awkwardness? Will they reveal a deep-rooted confidential secret?  What if I make myself vulnerable and they stomp all over my heart? Like a needle stuck on an old scratchy vinyl record we want to step out of our comfort zone and be vulnerable but our fear holds us back.

With a God given confidence I can now say that I have no problem making myself vulnerable. After all, my life stories are spread throughout my books all over the world.   Personal reflections and poignant moments have made their way onto Facebook and many blogs.  I run into strangers and they tell me things about myself that absolutely startle me.

Twenty-two years ago, with the help of a counsellor, I confronted all my “dark corners” and cleaned out my secret box.  I did this because keeping secrets was slowly suffocating me.  I discovered a startling truth:
a.   Our dark corners (shame) CLOSE the door between people. Shame stops us from being vulnerable and authentic because we are afraid we will be “found out. It stops us from fully loving and bonding with each other.
b.   Our dark corners OPEN the door for Satan. He uses those dark corners to crush us, shame us and keep us rehearing old lies.

I had enough of those ugly mind games and needed to open all areas of my heart and become vulnerable. I realized we are all imperfect people struggling with fears, insecurities, failures and afraid of looking stupid. But if we want to fully experience love acceptance and belonging we have to be willing to talk about the ugly stuff, the things that hurt us or shame us: We have to start conversations like this:
1.         “Because my daddy always put me down and made me feel stupid, when you talk to me like that in front of other people I feel diminished, hurt and unloved.”
2.         “I sense that you are looking at pornography. We need to talk about this.”
3.         “When you spend your entire evening on your i-pad, I feel like you love the i-pad more than me.”
4.         “I really feel fat, please help me to eat healthier.”
5.         “I feel overwhelmed and tired, and I feel depression coming on.”
6.         “I was sexually molested when I was eight, and I really struggle with our sex life. Please try to understand and help me.”
7.         “If we keep spending like this, we are going to be in serious trouble.”
Vulnerability laced with love and honesty opens the deepest and most beautiful places in our soul. That’s what marriage and relationships are all about. Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly[1] unpacks being vulnerable in a way that will transform every areas of our life. Vulnerability allows us to be free to love fully, accept each other wholeheartedly and fully enjoy being who God designed us to be.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends. You can reach her at:

[1] Brene Brown, Daring Greatly, How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (New York, NY: Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012).


Peter Black said...

Honest, frank and instructive. Thanks Heidi. I suspect your candid vulnerability lends significantly towards your effectiveness in ministering to women. However, your points speak with validity and have value for men. Interesting pics, and candidly, the last one with les trois belles is by far the best (but don't tell anyone I said so! Smile.) :)~~+~~

Lux G. said...

It's tough to be vulnerable in this seemingly callous world. We need to stay firm in our faith.

Glynis said...

Vulnerability. A power-filled word. We are taught well how to shelter and cover our turmoil. There needs to be more <> examples. Thanks, Heidi, for starting the conversation here. Well said.

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