A step into living hope

“And honestly, the loneliness of self-protecting barriers can feel like it will kill you–and the heart-breaking risk of intimacy and vulnerability can feel like it will kill you too.” Ann Voskamp from The Broken Way (2016)

hope

“I wouldn’t even know,” he says, his eyes becoming half moons with his warm grin. “Truly. You’re all  heart girl but I wouldn’t know how you feel.”

I pierce my lips, furrow my brow, wondering, his eyes now wide open with chestnut eyebrows lifted. He shifts in his cafe chair, waiting.

“Really?” I finally let out, let my breath release.

“Girl, just tell him. What do you have to loose?”

“What?!” I suck in air, hold it, a faint smell of vanilla and chocolate from our hot drinks dusting my senses. I let it out. “I can’t do that!”

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“Well,” I start, my hands twisting my winter scarf on my lap, “it could mess up the friendship we already have.” I bite my lower lip, my eyes darting to the right and then back again, at my companion whose bronze eyes are once again partly disappeared in half moons.

He shakes his head slightly from side to side, then stills my busy hands with his. “Maybe but maybe not,” he says. “No matter the outcome, you’re still you–beautiful, fun you but more open and vulnerable to allow someone to know how you feel. You’ll take a chance, let down the self-protection walls you’ve been creating. And no matter what happens, at least the walls are coming down and I promise you, it won’t kill you!”

I grin at his last words, and lean in for the hug I know that he always has had for me, especially during a time of breaking. This time though, instead of my breaking being a sudden crushing of the unexpected, I want my  breaking to be intentional. To be an intention to unwind all the tapes  I have used to bind and to shackle. The tapes labeled control, busyness, escapism, were meant to heal and protect me but, ironically, led to a heart weakened to love, instead of strengthened.

I think of Jesus’ birth, of where they laid him on that Holy night, not the inn or guest room, stone covered with a whitewashed sort of stucco, the typical home of the poor in that day. Scripture tells us he was laid in a manger (known as a stall or crib for feeding cattle in those ancient times). His life began in vulnerable conditions, and continued, and ended in heartbreak. But yet, He was and is the hope of the world.

manger

Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 

How do we fully live out this living hope of Jesus who was born, lived, died for me, for you, for us without an open heart, unbounded and vulnerable?

I know it is not through walls of self-protection….

My arms release my friend from our hug, a hug that I hold into for many seconds beyond my comfort. “One of the best things about where we met, was meeting you,” I tell him.

And my heart, feeling so much more alive is, I am sure, as warm as his cheeks swept up in a crimson blush.

One small step…

Have you ever intentionally broken open? Or are there, like me, tapes binding you now that God is bringing to your attention so you can fully be His living hope?

 

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19 thoughts on “A step into living hope

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Beautiful! I was right there with you sitting in the cafe as you shared your heart with your friend. I actually dislike letting my vulnerability show and I have a long way to go in that area but I really do love Ann Voskamp’s book (I’m reading it right now) and the message that living vulnerable, broken and open is the only way to let our self-protective walls down and let God’s love spill out to those around us. Lovely photo of the flower — from your new camera? I’m joining you in learning to live a little more open, friend . . . 🙂

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    1. Valerie, warms my heart to know you are also learning to “live a little more open” my friend! To have safe friends who challenge us and love us even in the crazy broken times are so important as we break our walls and build our vulnerability. God’s placed a few in my life, so I am blessed. I see issues with that flower shot! lol! But thank you. Still learning my new camera especially in those low light conditions like that shot was taken. Have a beautiful week with receiving and giving God’s spilled out love.

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  2. Beautiful, Lynn. Opening our hearts and being vulnerable is hard, isn’t it? I love how you point to the vulnerability of Jesus and because of this, He is the Hope of the world. I have Ann’s book, and I’m looking forward to reading it, but right now I’m concentrating first on her The Greatest Gift. Have a blessed Advent opening up your heart to vulnerability and the love of Jesus! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you Trudy! This is just the beginning and am confident in God’s promises that His work in us and through us brings hope, and redemption! Enjoy The Greatest Gift and may you always remember you are a gift too. Hugs back!

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  3. Lynn, I so appreciate your transparency in this post. And the thought of being willing to be broken on purpose? That’s brave. Sometimes, it’s only through the willingness to be broken that we can grow and be healed.

    I’ve definitely had tapes that bound me with their lies. It’s taken a long time, but God is re-writing those lies with the truths from His word, and the many reminders that He loves me. And that’s enough.

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  4. Oh Lynn, how I needed to read these words just now. Thank you so much for reminding me that it is the good and the right path to be taking. And to trust He’s with me in it. Hugs to you from afar as you step into it more and more too.

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    1. Your so welcome Anna. I was saying to a girlfriend tonight that I’ll read the words I’ve written and wonder, who wrote that? I know it has to be the Holy Spirit because they are ministering me, even as the one who penned them. May you continue on that path of His living hope as you step also into your next journey.

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  5. Beautiful, Lynn! Such a powerful challenge to consider and I am so blessed by your openness. I think we forgot that often it is when something is broken open that we are able to smell the sweet or delightful fragrance. It isn’t until the shell is broken that the richness of the fragrance can invite us to taste and see! Blessings on you, my Canadian friend!

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  6. I love the words you have written here Pam. And they reminded me of a word I had spoken over me about 2 and a half years ago. It was said that “I will lead you into an orchard with all kinds of good fruit and then into a flower garden with all kinds of beautiful fragrances.” I suddenly have goose bumps! 🙂 Blessings back to you and have a wonderful week!

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  7. I just love the way you paint your messages with such beautiful descriptive words and scenery- always landing at the heart of Truth with an authentic revelation for us all to truly contemplate.

    Yes… Taking those scary steps toward exposing our fragile places takes such bold assurance, doesn’t it? I LOVED being a ‘fly on the wall’ with your precious coffee date and I’m so glad you have a friend who encourages you through those difficult challenges. Christ is our example for sure. I pray we both keep trying to emulate His courage and His faith in how we live our lives and dare to break open our hearts to allow Him to shine from within.

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    1. Thank you Christine! Your words are always encouraging to me! I think my friends might be catching on that when we go out for coffee, they may just end up being in one of my posts. So blessed to have these friendships of inspirations! What a great prayer too— that all of us live this brave faith so He shines. Thank you!

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  8. Hi Lynn! Being vulnerable isn’t something that’s taught, not in this culture anyway. We all are supposed to be strong, independent and sure of ourselves. That’s a lot of pressure! It’s such a blessing to have a friend you can talk to about your concerns, and who can remind you of how special you are. He’s so right that the outcome of breaking bonds is never assured, but it’s always worth the effort.

    I wonder what you did after that conversation..
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  9. Hi Ceil! I was wondering if someone would ask me if I went through with being open and vulnerable to the one I alluded to in this post. And no. At least not yet! I am trusting though that I will be open to breaking when/if the opportunity comes. And I shall write about the experience for sure! Everyone I believe so wants to be authentic, be open, and drop the masks. It so can be hard though when our hearts so crave connection, but also want to avoid the pain of rejection! Have a wonderful week!

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  10. This is fragile and beautiful! I love vulnerability because it shines through to the real selves underneath our armor..what a precious scene at your coffee shop meeting, you have me on the edge of my seat! Thank you for sharing your heart here, unguarded, just the place Jesus needs us to be with HIM, where all the promises of love in our lives unfolds!! Love this today!!

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