Monday, June 9, 2008


A few days ago I addressed being Authentic & Vulnerable and solicited your opinions. I had only 16 comments to this post. 2 of them were by the same person adding to their thoughts (thank you for that), and 1 was someone dropping by to say "hi" but didn't have time to read the post, and 1 said it was "food for thought". So 12 brave, souls stepped forward with their thoughts and view on the subject.

Thank you so much to you 12. In a way I was surprised by the lack of comments out of all the views I had that day!!!! On the other hand, it did not surprise me because of the topic. It's hard to be Authentic & Vulnerable!!!! The very topic of the discussion.

If you haven't already I trust you will read the first post and all the comments. I had said I would re post about this with my opinions and views after reading yours. I had my views firmly in place, but did not want to influence any of you with my views and truly wanted to hear yours.

It is very true that many who are afraid to be Authentic and Vulnerable are those who, usually as children, were hurt badly when they tried to be. The sad part about that, not only do you have the original hurt, it is compounded as adulthood comes. satan uses this tool to keep the healing that will come by being authentic and vulnerable in abeyance. It is only by being authentic and vulnerable that God can use those He puts in your life to respond to you in the loving, accepting way that is so needed to heal those early wounds. Any wound that is pushed down and not confronted just festers and gets worse with time. We want to appear so strong but God's own word tells us, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." II Corinthians 12:9a

By our being authentic and vulnerable we give others the courage, and even sometimes the permission they need, to step out and be authentic and vulnerable, too. We truly do need each other.

I know, realize and acknowledge, that in the open forum of a public blog we can not be 100% transparent because of the others, who's lives intersect with ours, who's privacy is not ours to strip away. But that does not hinder us from being authentic and vulnerable about our thoughts and feelings as we honor others by protecting their right to chose what we share.

The really awful part of not being authentic and vulnerable is we hide behind a mask and end up presenting something other than our true selves to others. How can we ever be accepted and affirmed for who we really are, our true selves, when we are not showing that true self to those we interact with? It becomes a vicious, unending circle.

Diana wrote a wonderful separate post on this subject. Please go here and read it. It will bless you. Thank you Diana.

Jenileigh not only commented twice to my original post but her post last Saturday here is the most authentic and vulnerable post I have ever been privileged to read here in blogland. Jenileigh, no wonder God is using you, your family and children, in the powerful way He is. Your authenticity and vulnerability is a bright and shining light. Thank you so much. You are certainly "Letting your light shine."

May God help each of us to be authentic and vulnerable as we walk the path He has placed each of us on. May we encourage and give comfort to each other as we do so holding and building each other up .

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Shirley said...

Well said - I especially like the part about giving the other person the freedom to also be vulnerable and authentic. I must confess that I don't always share the hard stuff on my blog ... partly out of Phil 2:14 "Do everything without complaining or arguing ...". On the other hand, I appreciate it when people are authentic and vulnerable and "keep it real". For me, I am not trying to hide the hard stuff - I am just trying to be an encourager and to be a giver instead of a complainer and a taker. I guess it can get kind of complicated, huh?
Thanks for bringing a great point to light!

Shirley said...

We must have just crossed comments ;) Thanks for id'ing the Yucca! We also have a different variety of cactus that blooms little yellow flowers. I was shocked to see them here in AL, too!

Jenileigh said...

Your words are so true. Reading them opened up more realization in me....the part where you spoke of children being being abused and I remembered back to my own childhood where there was alot of anger, yelling, fear ect....and as I got to thinking things began to click as to why my thoughts to tend to form the way they do. It brought about a lot of food for thought.

I also loved the part where you said we needed to be read to bring about that realness in others. I loved this discussion.

Your words about me are too kind. Thank-you for the love and encouragement. I am grateful to the Lord for using me to help others.

Much love my friend. You are so special to me.

Susan said...

I don't know how I missed the original request. I think these two things are plain old hard for most people. You have to be really comfortable in your skin to be who you are sometimes. I, too, appreciate it when people are authentic and vulnerable. It says a lot about their character.

Thanks for another thought-provoking post.



Tammy said...

Hi Susan...
I actually missed seeing your first post on this altogether I think!
But this is such a good topic.

Obviously, I don't share everything on my blog...but there has been an occasion when writing from my heart was not only therapeutic for me, but blessed others, as well.
One that comes right to mind was about a year ago when someone from a group I had been apart of called and confronted me in a very hurtful way. I was careful to not mention groups, much less names, but the amazing thing is she had lurked there and attacked me yet again on that post! (I chose to delete her comment.)

But most people who replied to that post admitted to having similar hurts happen to them...and in the end, I was glad that I had been transparent.

Your post here, though, reminded me to continue to keep things more real and open, within those constraints of privacy to oneself and to others...

And may I also add that I think you are truly a blessing here in blogland, dear Susan.

Jenileigh said...

You have mail!

retha said...

I pray the same as your end to this post.

Barbara said...

Wonderful post and absolutely true.
The more authentic and honest and vunerable we become, the more others are able to relate to us and it gives them permission to be the same with us. We help set people free.
God has ways of bringing us to that place and it usually comes out of desperation.
Just going over to read Dianes post.

Mike said...

Takes a lot of courage!! But the blessings are great.

Desia said...

Said so well Susan!
On an unrelated topic: thanks for visiting my blog a while ago...and wow! married nearly 50 years! Our 25th anniversary is soon, and I thought that was long!

Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen it Susan, but I went there and commented- twice, actually. BTW-- "only" 16 comments? I was on cloud nine the day I had 9 comments!!!

Sharon said...

It is true that we do need to be careful about, as you say, "striping away our loved one's privacy". I want to be as real and transparent as I can. I want to show that the Lord can work in my life through the good, bad and ugly!

Have a great evening!


Nadine said...

Nicely said Susan. I do coming here and reading your posts. I find you to be very real. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

Charlotte said...

Hi Susan,
I haven't been around to visit for a few days and missed the authentic vulnerble post. I think a real problem in the world is people hiding behind "masks". Of course you can't "let it all hang out", but it is important I believe to be authentic and that brings on vulnerability.

diana said...

another great post, susan. i like the part about by us being authentic and vulerable, we then give others the courage and permission to do so also.

when i read someone's post and it obvious that they're opening up and sharing what's on their heart, i try to encourage them and let them know that i understand how hard it is to do that. i think we need to encourage others more.

the more we open up ourselves, the more others will realize that we all have a lot in common. by knowing this, maybe we won't be so quick to judge and won't feel so judged by others.

The Olson's: said...

I agree that being authentic & vulnerable is so important. I get frustrated when people don't open up.

One of the best times I remember being open & honest was when my husband & I were engaged. The small group we were in had just changed. So here we were almost married. The friends (our support system) we had been with during our dating and part of our engagement - we were no longer with them. We felt alone, like no one in our new group understood what we were feeling. After being encouraged to share our feelings with our small group, we opened up & let it be known that we felt alone, like we didn't relate to the others in our new group. An amazing thing happened. Every person in our group responded in the same way; they each felt like they couldn't connect - one was a single mom, one couple had young kids, one couple were grandparents. We all realized we were feeling the same even though we were in different life stages. What a connection and bonding time that was. It was one of the best groups we have been in over the past 12 years! Jeremy & I chose to be vulnerable & amazing things happened. The whole group bonded, there was a strong sense of unity!

Over these past several months, our church has been processing some things. I have wanted to share them on my blog but I can't; I'm in leadership & not all the info should be shared in blogland. But I have been sharing at the leadership level. It's not always easy being authentic & vulnerable, and sometimes we get persecuted for it, but over these past months, I have had constant reassurances from God that I am doing the right thing and to keep speaking the truth.

Thank you, Susan, for speaking truth. In today's society it is sadly lacking! Thank you for speaking about the "hard" topics. It's exciting to read people's comments and how they have been positively affected by these posts!
In Christ,
~ Leanne

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the first birthday wishes for my daughter. I fixed the picture problem. Come by and see how darn good I looked for having given birth five minutes earlier.

Tina said...

Hi Susan, just back from a short vacation... Yes, the body needs to be more authentic and vulnerable for sure! Too many people are hiding a lot of pain and other things. I am very much open and always have been, but it can be very frustrating/lonely/confusing when others aren't.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

(congrats on Mickey's retirement time again...)

Great thoughts here. I enjoyed Jenileigh's post.

We have learned that while being vulnerable may leave us getting hurt, it is worth the risk to see the amazing ways God uses our vulnerability.

Tiffany said...

I'm kinda with Shirley here. I'm not afraid to share the difficulties I face in life, I just choose to concentrate on being an encouragement. i think i share more in comments to others than I do in my posts. If I can relate, encourage or give any advice, I do. I've been pondering on how to be more open and relatable to my readers, and maybe be a blessing and an encouragment that way. I just have to let the Lord lead me and not my emotions. i want my motives to be the right ones or else it won't really matter, because I won'y be effective in the way that I need to be (for Him.)- This was a great to get me thinking about digging a little deeper. Thanks!-Blessings!