As an introvert, I like to pretend I’m a badass; more in my head than in reality, mind you. I think it’s a worthy adjective for those people living life “up here”, not afraid to boldly speak the truth– in love, of course, and even if they fear rejection, they risk being vulnerable with others. It is this select group people who see others where they are, accepts them there, doesn’t try to change them, but simply desires to walk life’s journey alongside us–not for our sake or for theirs, but because it’s LOVE; and they’re in the business of living life courageously with others, no matter the cost.
“Badassery”, as Brene Brown has so eloquently dubbed this paraphrased description, turns so much of what we have believed about friendships upside down, when she talks about how we become courageous when we are willing to be vulnerable. Ironic, isn’t it, because we often wait for courage to somehow happen upon us, sturdy-ing our stance, before we are willing to lower our guard and allow ourselves to be fully exposed. She states that it is quite the opposite; that it’s in our vulnerability, we become courageous.
Let’s be honest, courage can quickly deflate when our vulnerability is just hanging out there for anyone to see and potentially trample on. It doesn’t feel good when we have taken off the proverbial life vest, and taken a gigantic step away from our warm and comfy self-protection. It hurts to not have our vulnerability accepted and/or even reciprocated. It doesn’t throw caution to the wind, however. There are safeguards to put in place, because we know not all people are safe people. And by the same token,
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of many of the fulfilling experiences we long for—love, belonging, joy, creativity, and trust–to name a few—the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged” (Brene Brown).
As an introvert, surface talk slays me, literally sucking the life out of me oh so s-l-o-w-l-y! When I share life with you, I want to know the deep, gooey, icky, details of what makes you tick. I resonate with you in this place. I can breathe in this place. I don’t know how to breathe when talking only about the Seahawks game–and not because I’m not a major fan–but because it doesn’t tell me anything about YOU, about what you’re learning, struggling with, rejoicing in… I want to live those moments with you, feel what you feel.
To be honest, I’m not awesome with friendships. I’ve never really learned how to do it. For the most part, many left me unfulfilled, some were one-sided, where I was the only one to reach out, while others remained surface-y. I always believed there was so much more to be experienced in friendships and yet rarely did I meet others who were willing to genuinely live life with all its ups and downs and everything in between moments together.
Friends do things together, talk about this and that, encourage, and pray with one another. Friends share stories of young and old. They share dreams. They hold one another’s children, clean their kitchens, pick up rice at the store for you because they know you need it before you do. Friends offer to go to your mammogram appointment with you when you’ve found a lump on “Lefty”. Friends “love you thru crazy” and sunshiny moments. They, themselves are not afraid to put themselves out there because they know that no matter what they do or don’t do in life, they are enough as they are–no matter what that looks like– and so are you. They are not defined by what they do, but by who they are, and Whose they are. They somehow have caught on to the truth that they are “worthy of love; worthy of belonging” and this knowledge impacts their every action, including friendships, even if it costs them something.
And although I am still wrapping my mind around my identity in Christ, I have somehow always known, as you have, that we were made to belong; we were made for community; for friendship that knows no bounds.
If we have been fortunate enough to receive such a precious friendship, we know it didn’t happen by chance. Somewhere along the line, we were intentional about genuinely sharing life together, even the messy parts; the parts that could potentially cause others to run the other way. We risked heartbreak. We shared our stories, not glazing over the hard parts, but allowed the areas where shame still loiters from time to time to be seen; for the raw emotions of regret, embarrassment, anger, resentment…to be shared.
For another to see us incomplete, still in the healing process…this is vulnerability at its best and only one of two things will result: intimacy or disappointment.
I’ve risked more times than I can count; shared my vulnerable little soul with others with the hopes of growing deep and lasting friendships built upon something so substantial, so solid, AKA Truth and Trust and have been left at the proverbial alter, so to speak. This has caused me to play a role I was never created to play, one filled with shallow pleasantries. It is the accepted role. Too much beyond that just seems weird, if groundwork hasn’t been laid, which requires risk. For an introvert, I’ve been good at playing this role, but it’s lonely. It’s left me at an impasse: Do I keep trying (risking) or do I accept my seeming lot in life? I am certain we all have a pit-stop here and what we do next is pivotal. To be honest, I’d been hurt so often that protection seemed the best choice and I had resolved, that I was OK with surface-y friendships.
Until I met HER!