Being vulnerable is gross. I always thought I was good at being open, and honest, and vulnerable to those I loved. And sometimes, even to those I didn’t love. I often would put my whole self on the line, without regard for my protection, so that people could trust me, be open with me and ultimately, love me for who I actually was. I got tired of surface level friendship and this was the best way I knew how to push past it. Sometimes vulnerability paid off in true friendship; sometimes I walked up to the edge of a cliff without a harness and people took turns pushing me off.
I wasn’t a stranger to being vulnerable.
And then I became a mother.
That was when I truly began to understand a new level of vulnerability.
I gave birth to this beautiful, innocent, defenseless baby whose entire life depended on my every move. He wouldn’t be fed without me. He would barely sleep without me helping him. He couldn’t even lift his head without me. My heart could barely contain how intense that feeling was, to be relied on so heavily. I’ve been married for seven years, and I’ve always given my whole heart to my husband, but this was new. My baby was the one standing on the edge of a cliff, and every step I took, every breath I took would determine his outcome.
And then the impending joy started (a phrase I found coined by Brene Brown). It began with: Oh he’s sleeping well! Enjoy this moment because he might not sleep well next time. Then it was: He didn’t cry for two hours! Well, don’t get used to that. Babies cry. Then it continued to go unmonitored by my conscience and eventually it was: Look at him sleeping, he is so beautiful. Take it in, because at any moment our house could get broken into and he could be kidnapped and my life could be destroyed.
As if, somehow, thinking these things could prepare me for the worst case scenario.
And you know what?
Nothing prepares you for the worst case scenario.
And you know what else?
God doesn’t say,
“Prepare yourself for all of the worst case scenarios so you never actually enjoy any of the moments I have prepared for you in advance.”
He actually says,
And I’ve also noticed that Romans 15:13 (one of my favourite verses) says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Not, “Try and trust God with this, but have a backup plan because the world sucks and, while the Holy Spirit tries to edge his way in, fill up that void with the overflow of preparedness and action plans and despair and don’t get too comfortable because happiness is fleeting.”
There is a complete vulnerability in letting go of uncontrollable circumstances and loving completely. It’s the equivalent of jumping off the ledge of a bungee jump, or the top of a rollercoaster before the fall, or waiting for another person to catch you in a trust fall, or falling off a swivel chair. The part that catches your breath, the moment where you’re not sure it will all work out, that you will be safe… and that’s the part we need to partner with God and be okay with.
In Corinthians 4:2, it says, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” For mums, we have been given a trust in our children; God has entrusted us to care for and love unashamedly and be vulnerable with his sons and daughters. And to prove faithful, I believe that means standing strong in faithfulness to God and his promises, and facing the lie of impending joy and unnerving fear, and saying, “I will take in the full joy of this moment and love to my fullest capacity. I will give my whole self to trust and love my child, because God has gone ahead of me and has paved the way for me to love to my fullest.”
He can work with that.
Kat lives in Perth, Western Australia and is pretty happy with her dandy life of 30 years. She is married to Andrew, who is a freelance graphic designer, all-around cool guy and now dad to their ridiculously adorable little boy.
Kat is a manager of a cafe, with a background that looks like a bag of assorted mixed lollies – administration, finance, selling yoghurt, image consulting, making coffee, and account managing. She loves Jesus, reading, drinking a decent cup of coffee, writing and cooking.