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Devotional

That Dream Again?!

by SARAH DEAL VULNERABILITY Expectations Feeling known & understood Grief, loss, & depression Discouragement Compassion
That Dream Again?!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

There I was, walking the familiar street. My neighbors were there, along with my sister, a friend from childhood, an acquaintance from high school, and the Immigration officer from our last visit to the Embassy. I bit my lip as I walked past them, their hushed snickering ringing in my ears. I looked down and gasped in horror as I realized I forgot to get dressed! 


Of course, this scenario was imaginary. A dream. But exposure and vulnerability are not confined to a subconscious dreamland. And the raw emotions that drove this dream, and others like it over the years, couldn’t be more real. 


There is a vulnerability that comes with opening yourself up to another culture, another language, another people. The tidy walls of your cultural comfort zone left behind, you boldly risk exposure to elements previously unexplored and uncomprehended. Beyond physical aspects of vulnerability come emotional tolls to such a life. The stress. The daily wear of unspoken expectations. The ache of homesickness. The spiritual dryness. 


Feeling overwhelmed, you choose to be vulnerable with a co-worker. You bite your lip and share a struggle. You hope she will listen. Offer a hug. Let you “ugly-cry” for a while. Share chocolate from her care package. 


She may misunderstand your pain. Even disapprove. Belittle your suffering. Give quick answers that (perhaps unintentionally) ring heartless.


Maybe you will begin to wonder if vulnerability and exposure are worth the risk. 


Jesus, too, was vulnerable. Left his home to come to ours. 


“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief… He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:3


Jesus’ obedience to vulnerability made possible our reconciliation with God–an outcome that was far worth every ounce of struggle! (Isaiah 53:10) 


Philippians 4:7 is a great reminder to me that HIS peace is always ready to guard and protect my vulnerable heart. My Great Comforter, well acquainted with grief, invites me to lay it all at His feet.


Dear friend, your beautiful vulnerability is worth the risk, and God will be faithful to use it for His glory! 


Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father, we praise you that you hold us close in all our vulnerable moments. When we feel especially exposed and raw, you remind us that your peace is available to stand guard over our hearts and our minds. Help us to run to you, to pour our worries and our cares at your feet! Help us to pray about everything, to give thanks to you for all you have done and all you will do. Help us not to grow weary of being vulnerable for your sake, for you understand the risk of being exposed! Thank you for conquering death for us on the cross, for bearing our guilt and shame and sin!! What a glorious hope we have in you, and may you use our obedience and vulnerability for your glory, Amen!
Question for Reflection

Is it easier for you to be vulnerable before the Lord or before others? Why?

Comments
Sarah Deal
September 23, 2021

It is usually easier for me to be vulnerable with others than with God. I guess I am afraid to be honest with him, forgetting that he already knows my heart completely! This is another reason why Philippians 4:6-7 is one of those passages the Holy Spirit often brings to my mind! In the heat of the battle, it’s easy to forget to bring my needs before him in prayer and thanksgiving, choosing instead to worry and be anxious as I struggle in my vulnerable state as though I were defenseless. How wonderful it is to know that God understands us in our vulnerability! We have no need to fear in our standing as his fully accepted and beloved daughters (Romans 8:15)!


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