Break Down Walls to be Vulnerable

NOTE: Happy 4th of July. Freedom is God’s design especially internally where we are free from the bondages of sin and death! I’m still discovering how powerful our freedom is and the priceless cost Jesus paid to redeem us.

Photo Credit: skeeze (CC)

As we’re continuing this theme of community for over a month, I wanted to explore the barriers to community. Last week’s guest post from Steve Carpenter gave a strong framework of how community is God’s design. He mentioned Brene Brown explaining about trust, “trust is built over time by the consistent little things that we do – not the one big thing that we do; a process as opposed to an event.”

Taking little steps explains how I opened myself to community. It’s not been jumping with both feet into the ocean of community, but taking it slow as I open up to one community at a time.

He directed me to a community of believers then to a six-week class covering the dynamics of SOZO ministry (I’ve posted about SOZO before). Through SOZO, I experienced Jesus breaking down my walls of fear, rejection, and distrust. And how through him, I’m safe to be vulnerable.

There’s a powerful word: Vulnerability. For that’s what I hide from. In the past, I justified my lack of committing to the Body with what seemed like valid excuses. Although I didn’t call them excuses, I used the friendlier term, “reasons”. And I had convinced myself these reasons were from God.

  • Time commitment. Instead of committing to a life group or prayer group, I need to spend that time with God. This commitment will take me away from my fellowship time with him. After all, I need him more than they need me. Or I need to use that time to work, workout, or get to bed early.
  • Group might have dysfunctional people or worse, a controlling leader: I don’t want to be in a worse state by joining a harmful community. A manipulative, controlling leader can bulldoze your life, attempt to steal your identity, and separate you from your loved ones if you allow it. I have come too far to give in to control.
  • It will fail: Without diving into the origin of this thought, I was taught how powerful the enemy was and whenever a group would commit to prayer, fellowship, and discipleship, he’d attack. Eventually, if the members weren’t strong in their faith and committed to prayer and fasting and coming together in unity, their differences, their strongholds, and their hidden sins would cause a split. It won’t work unless each person is a strong believer in faith.

Now, I’m not saying these excuses are never valid; they are in some cases, but I was using them for every commitment. Even when I had gotten involved, I’d feel fear creeping in, telling me to not only beware, but find an escape clause to legitimize leaving.

But not participating in community was bearing no fruit despite staying vigilant to pray, fast, and read the Word. I had some advancement, but not like I needed. I’d wonder why I struggled with the same issues and going around the same mountain for the tenth time.

What I hadn’t realized was that fear was the root of my lack of committing: fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of loss. The fear of loss was afraid to lose my identity as stronger personalities would swallow me up in their vortex of agendas.

Hum…But God through his patience and step by step process revealed that I don’t need to hide behind the wall, but that Jesus has already broken it down, if I’m willing to walk through to the other side. The side of vulnerability, trust, and commitment.

So, how do we trust?

While I don’t have all the answers since I’m still walking this process out, I have tips to get you on the right path.

  • Focus on him. After all, he’s the one who can destroy those fears in us anyway. When our eyes are on him, he’s able to direct our lives.  He’s perfect peace in the midst of the storm, so we walk with him through it.
  • Lean on the Holy Spirit. His job is to guide, teach, and lead. If you sense peace to participate in that small group or church– Go! Realize you can take it day by day and allow the Holy Spirit to navigate this new adventure. He’s got your back, so he’ll direct you away from the wrong commitment and lead you to the healthy ones.
  • Stay accountable. God’s already brought the people you need in your life. Discuss with them what you’re feeling, what they think, and ask them to pray. If they discern alarm or check about joining a particular community, listen to their concerns. But if they discern peace, then you have another witness to join. What if God’s about to bring new people into your life for this next season? You’ll only meet them through community.

God needed me to grow in community, not without. So once I became vulnerable and participated in community, I’ve had exponential growth where God’s redeemed the time I lost when I lived on an island! And I’m seeing breakthroughs in areas that I thought were too difficult. Actually, I’m blown away by the fruit in my life.

So, it’s really a day by day journey with God. As you become vulnerable, he’ll lead you to where you need to go and what community you should join. It’s never a straight path, but filled with twists and turns so you still need to remain connected with him to know where to navigate. But at least, you’ll be amongst others who’ll help you along the way.

How about you? What tips helped you to be vulnerable and trust in community? Please share in Comments below. Thank you.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Author

sarahsoonwriter

Friend of God. Writer. Resting in His grace daily.