Being vulnerable…….ugh. My definition of this is exposing our heart and soul to others, much of the time with fear and trembling I might add. And why do we have this fear and trembling? Because of the beast called – FEAR OF REJECTION! What does this have to do with Jesus in the Jungle? Well, here goes.
Before we left the states for Bougainville, I had a dream where I saw Jesus in the Jungle. Toward the end of our trip, we were treated to an afternoon at a private island. Private meaning that no one lives there. We had the island to ourselves. I took a walk on the beach by myself and ventured into the jungle. I stopped in my tracks. The scene in front of me was just like the scene in my dream except Jesus wasn’t standing there. I waited. I looked around wondering if I would see something unusual. I didn’t. I turned on my camera and recorded as I walked through the jungle. The atmosphere was rich with animal sounds. I didn’t see Him with my eyes but I felt Him walking with me. It became a very intimate moment between Jesus and me. I felt such love for Him that I began to sing a song from my teenage years, “I Love you Lord” and it was recorded on the video. My singing is so bad that I felt awkward even with no one else around. But I knew that Jesus didn’t hear my voice as terrible because He was hearing my heart that was so full of love for Him.
Now to the vulnerable part. When I woke up yesterday morning I felt the Lord ask me to share this video with you. I said, “This is a joke, right? Please tell me you’re kidding?” Well, He wasn’t. I did pray for humility one time and apparently He hasn’t forgotten!!! As I thought about His directive I began to realize something. For nearly all of my life, until the last three to five years, I wore fear of rejection like a suit of armor. I classified myself as a Non-Hugger. People often remarked, “You just think you’re so tough but I know you’re not.” I hated hearing that. I wasn’t tough and I hated that I came across like that. So I made a conscious decision to start tearing that wall down. I asked God to melt my heart, to heal my heart. Every one of us has deep wounds and hurts and we all avoid rejection like the plague. We all put up walls to keep others at a distance to avoid getting hurt. But here was my big “aha” moment. The walls I put up weren’t keeping me from getting hurt — they were keeping my heart of love and compassion from coming out like I felt on the inside.
Over time, the lover of my soul answered my prayer inch by inch, foot by foot. Maybe I still have some wall up and that’s why I need to share this video. I don’t really know what His wisdom is but I know He does. But I do know this, we fear vulnerability and it’s vulnerability that draws people to us. It’s what begins a true deep relationship with another. When we expose something on the inside it gives room to another to do the same. It builds trust. It builds a “I understand and trust you and you understand and trust me” relationship. I’ve learned that being vulnerable is actually the best way to live. Of course, we have to use wisdom to know when it’s ok to open ourselves to another and when it’s not.
The most satisfying way to live is the way Jesus told us to — to give ourselves away and love. Love without needing anything in return. “….but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Phil. 2:3 Tearing the walls down around our heart is essential to doing this. Love has to be able to flow freely back and forth. It brings freedom and nothing beats freedom.
So what about the dream of seeing Jesus in the jungle? Was He there or not? Maybe in the dream He was telling me it was ok to go to Bougainville and that He would be there waiting for me. He was, every moment.
Something has happened to me since April 2nd. I think in all the beautiful encounters I had with Him before I left He was giving me a revival of sorts. He gave me a new revelation of His love. I love others more now because I feel more loved. And feeling the prayers of so many that covered us Has been the best part of the experience. Knowing that I am part of God’s family that loves one another because He loves us is the best feeling in the world. If being vulnerable helps me feel more of that then sign me up. I’m all in.
Loving Him – and You,