I spent the majority of my adult life devotedly praying for God to act. Praying for answers, (in the form of skywriting or burning bush) praying for direction, (preferably using SIRI with step by step directions) praying for a recipe (in Betty Crocker cookbook style) on how to fix the life that I continually messed up. I wasn’t blaming anyone for my problems, and wasn’t asking for some sort of magic do over, but what I was looking for was some relief. Actually more like disaster relief. Something close to a Red Cross tent full of medical supplies and of course food. I faithfully believed that God could serve as my personal FEMA complete with proverbial hazmat suit and caution tape around my heart. As with most disaster relief, it never seems to be moving fast enough. From the outside it’s easy to see the aide being dispersed, and the care being given, but sometimes from the inside it just still feels disastrous.
My life isn’t really disastrous; after all I have two beautiful smart teenage girls that only occasionally need reminded to pick up their clothes off the floor. I think it’s just that after all the disasters, I just feel vulnerable. At first when the storm is over you are in over drive to fix what you can fix and to do anything and everything you can to cover your basis, but there is that moment after the storm when there is destruction all around you and you just feel so very weak and small. Vulnerable. I used to pray for the emotional walls around my heart to be taken down and that I would be able to be vulnerable. Looking back on it, I think praying for vulnerability is kind of like asking God to chop off both your legs. Why in the world did I think vulnerability was a good thing?
While I’m learning to live with this new emotion, I can’t help but in some crazy way be comforted by the feeling of it. It’s a reminder that God is listening. It’s a reminder that He has heard my prayers, and has granted without exception the answer. For me vulnerability is a giant lesson in “Be careful what you pray for”, but I actually think that emotional vulnerability is a gift. It’s the only way we can truly be in touch with what we are feeling, and the only way we can ever have emotional intimacy with someone else. Emotional vulnerability sometimes involves handing your heart over to someone who could at any moment crush you and depending on them to not. It’s a gift. Not everyone can tear down the walls, give up emotional control and accept the possibility of emotional destruction.
So while I stand here in the wake of the storm I’m feeling vulnerable, but I’m looking around and I see God everywhere in His FEMA suit, rebuilding those precious things around me. It’s not easy being vulnerable, in fact it’s awful, but some emotions can’t exist behind the walls I built around my heart. Some emotions need the raw, exposed truth. So, I’m standing here while FEMA works. The walls are down and I’m terrified. Vulnerable. I’m also seeing God roll out the CAUTION tape and I know that He’s working on it. Could someone please point me toward the Red Cross tent so I can get a cookie?!?