[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]A[/mk_dropcaps]fter last week's post “Original or Copy”, I realized I I failed to mention the fine print that comes with operating in your strengths. The line reads: "Side effects of living a life unhindered, boldly unwrapping and using your strengths causes “prolonged feelings of vulnerability.” This sounds like a disclaimer of the side effects you see on prescriptions, but the truth of it is undeniable. The more I dare to show my unique gifts, I realize how much resistance there is to do so. This resistance does not come because others don't want it, but because our world thrives on conforming. Opening up and using the gifts you have been given automatically makes you a "non-conformist." God's protection and guidance will come when you step out in faith and use your God-given gift to build His kingdom, but you also feel and experience vulnerability. People will see and experience who you are without the filters, photoshop, and the perfectly-posed image. This kind of vulnerability may feel like you are stepping out onto the chopping block for all critics to have their way with you. That is a lie! And I can tell you this because I speak from experience. Over the last two months, I have felt exposed and vulnerable. Ask Alex. I have cried in most of our recent one-on-one conversations. Feelings of the unknown and uncertainty have been flooding in quickly. Unlike other seasons in my life, this one is vastly different. I realized these feelings are coming to the surface because the Lord is leading me into a new level of relationship with Him rather than the same emotions keeping me bound as they have in times past. In the past, when I felt vulnerable, my default was to run to the comforts of control, performance and isolation. "If no one can reach me... If I can measure my success, and if I feel like I have control, then everything will be okay, right?!"
I couldn't have been further from the truth. So, here's the truth for you: I am figuring this whole vulnerability thing out. Being in a season with big transition, approaching our wedding, and many other changes that go with that, I realize how much I don't know. Thankfully, what I do know is that I don't have to know it all. I refuse to let fear win by stopping me in my tracks and prohibiting me from what I was built and put here to do. I was built to win. So are you. Picking up our gifts and putting them to use comes with vulnerability. Vulnerability, by nature, leaves us open to criticism. We have no facade to hide behind. Yet, here is a truth we forget (myself included), our Heavenly Father is our protector. No person or criticism has the power to bind us, unless we choose to agree with it. If vulnerability and using all my gifts come as a package deal, then I say bring it on! I don't have to like it. Nor do I have to defend myself. This is God's role. I may be vulnerable, but with God I am never alone or unprotected. Dear friend, God wanted me to remind you that the same is true for you. Yes, you may feel exposed. However, the reality is you are under the cover of our almighty Father.