Vulnerability is difficult, right? Trust me, I know it’s hard. Vulnerability is something that is learned over time and isn’t something that is ever fully achieved. Vulnerability is like a chipping away of all the lies you’ve ever believed about yourself and little by little becoming brave enough to share those lies out loud.
I remember being an innocent little girl like it was yesterday. I was young and just beginning to learn who I was. I felt that my only major responsibility was to use my imagination and have fun with my friends. We played dress up, Barbies – and most importantly – Easy-Bake oven. At that time, life was simple.
Until, suddenly, only one thing seemed to matter: “Was I beautiful?” This daunting question plagued my tiny, maturing brain.
You see, I grew up in a verbally affirming household. So, as an innocent child, I never thought twice about the reality that I was anything other than perfectly what I am. I picked wedges with reckless abandon, climbed countless trees, and wrestled with my older brothers until I was blue in the face. I was a chubby kid, but I never knew it.
I was utterly unashamed.
But this world is tough, for it’s not easy to maintain the innocence and confidence we once had. Somewhere along the way, I began to believe that I wasn’t enough. I struggled hard in my pursuit of identity and value. My weight fluctuated my entire life, as did my interest in boys. I spent many years giving myself away. My heart and body were just tools I used to determine whether or not I was of any value.
I exposed myself over and over again hoping that the next person or thing would help me make sense of whatever feelings I was having, or even provide a way for me to make sense of who I was. All I had ever wanted was to be fully known and fully loved. I wanted to be vulnerable and accepted. But the funny thing is, I didn’t even know who I was. How could I ever be fully known if I didn’t start asking the right question, a question asked by someone else that spoke to the core of my identity crisis.
The right question wasn’t “who am I?” but rather, “whose am I?”
I am a Child of God; I belong to God. This realization was just the tip of the iceberg, as I sought to grapple with this new identity. This identity would – and still does – have to combat a lifetime of negative thinking. But understanding who I really am allowed me to see that nothing I have ever done or have ever believed about myself can separate me from who I really am: a Child of God.
The truth is, being vulnerable continues to be a challenge, especially since I still struggle with insecurity. Now, however, while I continue to struggle with this topic, I do so with a better understanding of what the truth is at the end of the day: I may still feel inferior to others or less than who I want to be, but instead of dwelling on those thoughts, I am quick to remind myself of who God says I am.
Once I realized this truth, that my identity was rooted in being a Child of God, God had a way of redeeming what I thought was irredeemable.
. . .
Danielle Koke Germain currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband Fredelin Germain. She is a speaker, writer, and director for The Landing, a Celebrate Recovery Program for teens between the ages of 13-18 at Shoreline Church. She also works with women’s ministry at Shoreline. She recently pursued her ministry license, which enhances her ministry for those struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups.