by Melinda McCredie
This is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately. Not only if I actually do it, but whether or not it’s a good thing. I think it’s fair to say that most people who know me well would say yes, I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. It is certainly something that those close to me have observed and commented on. But what does it really mean?
Riding the ups and downs of a global pandemic has not been easy for any of us. But for someone like me, it’s a little more obvious when I’m struggling. And oh, how I wish it wasn’t! Sometimes I just want to be better at keeping my emotions in check. I hate being vulnerable and exposed and I don’t always want everyone to know I’m feeling.
But I can’t seem to help it. I think I’ve always been this way, but in the years since I became a Christian it has become even more a part of who I am. A worship song can move me to tears, and a testimony can break my heart. I see things differently now.
I pray that is because God sometimes allows me to glimpse the world through His eyes.
Vulnerability can be hard. Allowing ourselves to be fully known is a leap of faith that many of us struggle to take. It can leave us feeling judged and rejected, and there is almost nothing worse than that. I have often thought of wearing my heart on my sleeve as a weakness that I need to correct in myself.
There are times when sharing feelings and emotions is completely appropriate. And of course, there are times when it’s not. I don’t want to be controlled by how I feel, and for me that means having safe people that I can vent to when the time is right.
But it doesn’t mean I have to change who I am.
Change is possible for everyone, and emotional maturity is definitely an area that I have needed to grow in. But my heart for other people is also what allows me to be effective in the ministry that God has called me to. People need to see my vulnerability, our vulnerability, in order to feel comfortable sharing theirs.
I, like many of you, am my own worst critic. I often walk away from conversations wondering if I’ve said too much and wondering what the person is thinking of me afterwards. Let me tell you, this type of second guessing is damaging to the soul.
Because as I sit here writing this, God is revealing to me that it’s my vulnerability that is actually giving me the courage to share these words. Without that, without HIM, I would have nothing to say.
There is not something wrong with me because I feel things deeply. Yes, at times it’s difficult and I do struggle to process everything. I have a soft heart, and my feelings get hurt often. But that is how God made me.
It doesn’t matter if you wear your heart on your sleeve or not. The real question is, are you comfortable with who God made you to be? Do you let others in? Do you seek support when you need it? Or are you ashamed of how your feelings?
There is so much shame attached to being vulnerable because we think we should be strong enough to deal with things on our own. The last thing we ever want to do is admit that we’re struggling and ask for help. Why is that?
I don’t have the answers, but do I know that when my emotions get the better of me I feel like a failure. Because when I look around, everyone else seems to be in control when I’m not. But that simply isn’t true. They are just better at hiding it than I am.
I know I’m not perfect, but God created me this way and I’m ok with that.
Yes, there will always be areas where I can grow and improve, and I pray that God will continue to gently highlight those things to me. But in the meantime I take comfort in knowing that He is using me, even when I still have so much to learn.
No matter what circumstances you find yourself in today, God can help you and He can use you to help others. Will you let Him?
2Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Melinda is a writer who shares her life experiences with God on her blog, www.thedevotedlife.com She also has a self-published book. Melinda attends Gateway Baptist Church with her husband Drewe and two daughters.
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