"What? You're moving where?!
Again I found myself the center of attention, when only a moment ago I was sure I was hardly a part of the conversation. I sighed inwardly. Forcing a smile to my lips and my eyes to meet those staring wide-eyed back at me, I began to share that yes, we were moving to Germany and yes, this was for longer than six months. Though they all forced smiles, I could see it on their faces. "You're crazy."
For this girl, the last year has held many ups and downs. Something that I've especially struggled with is being thrust into the center of attention in a matter of moments, ready to give account of the why and the when. As I leave and get in my car to drive home, I'm left feeling vulnerable and exposed. The Lord has been teaching me to let Him have even the parts that I feel vulnerable. I need to give Him my whole self. Not just the parts I feel comfortable sharing with Him.
Vulnerable means "susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm." For the most part, vulnerability has a negative connotation. But I don't think we can talk about it without bringing out the positive side of being vulnerable with others. Often your greatest friendships are due to the level of honesty and vulnerability you share with the other person. We all respond and feel a deeper sense of connection with others when they open up and share their struggles. You are able to pray for them at a deeper level and instantly care for others when moments are shared and open and honest struggles are revealed. We come to God at our most vulnerable state asking Him for His forgiveness and eternal life.
But what do we do with the negative aspect of vulnerability? We all have those parts of our hearts that we protect and don't share. Maybe you are like me and as someone who is more introverted, don't especially delight in suddenly being given the lime-light. Maybe your vulnerability is due to pain inflicted by someone and you carefully protect yourself. How do we serve the Lord in spite of our selves? How do we allow Him to freely take our weaknesses and use us in spite of them?
First, we need to remind ourselves that much about our vulnerability has to do with feelings. How we feel or are made to feel. Feelings get us in trouble. We all know that it's foolish to follow your heart. Our hearts are sinful and our feelings often lead us down the wrong path. Jeremiah says it well.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways according to the fruit of his deeds." Jeremiah 17:9-10
Second, we need to remind ourselves that a mind and heart focused on Christ is at peace. Actively choosing to focus our minds and hearts on Christ will give us peace and also help other troubles to recede as we are reminded of what is truly important. Keeping our minds stayed on Him.
"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3
Last, we need to remind ourselves of His promises.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14
"Truly He is my rock and salvation: He is my fortress. I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:6-8
As we begin this new year we can fully trust our God with all of ourselves. Even our insecurities and vulnerabilities. Let us come together and lay aside our fears and share how Jesus has changed our lives when He brings opportunities our way.
We have had a number of meetings this month with potential partners. We enjoyed having several families into our home for dinner. It always amazes me how other believers can be such a great encouragement to us in the middle of a busy week. We need each other and we all need encouragement. Chad has made a number of connections in Berlin and across Europe and is beginning to plan with these partners how we can impact communities for the gospel.
Praise and Prayer
- Praise for new connections with gospel workers in Europe
- Praise for new partnerships this month
- Prayer as we should be hearing back in the next month about whether the girls have been accepted to the school we applied to
- Prayer as we continue to learn German