Have you ever been hurt by someone and tried bottling it up inside?
You might convince yourself in the short term you’re ok and will cope fine… But, the reality is, those damaging feelings will fester up and eat you from the inside until you start to deal with them.
Today, I hope some of my experiences with choosing vulnerability can encourage you to choose greater freedom in your life.
During childhood, I was caught up in the ongoing saga of trying to work out what made up my identity.
This led me to trying out a few incorrect solutions whilst pursuing the answer, including bullying others and comfort eating in secret. But the one I want to pick out for you today, to show how vulnerability in the toughest areas has ultimately helped me find my identity and grow in it, was an addiction to pornography.
At about the age of 11, I stumbled onto the wrong web-page, only containing some “soft” images, but with all the influences and peer pressure I was experiencing at school I went down the rabbit hole of internet porn.
Over the next 6 years, this hole lead me to more and more explicit content, sacrificing bits of myself piece by piece to what I knew wasn’t right. All the while not telling anyone of my activities.
Friendships with women, in particular, grew strained and difficult to maintain. Guilt and shame began to make a home in my heart.
And there it stayed, until I finally took a risk and opened up in the smallest way to a Christian leader at Soul Survivor. After starting on the path of vulnerability, I was able to start lifting the lid on my addiction with those I trusted, and eventually get freedom from porn.
You see, anything that is left in dark won’t experience the benefits of the light.
The darkness will fester on anything in it’s path if it’s not opposed.
It’s like a plant: if you leave it in a dark room without proper nourishment, it will eventually wilt and die.
But, where we shine light in, darkness can no longer compete, and ultimately the goodness of the light takes it’s place.
Light and darkness can’t coexist! And, as I’ve come to experience, Jesus is the ultimate source of light.
In John 8:12, it says “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
When we choose to be vulnerable with our lives, giving our all to Jesus, He returns the favour by blessing us with freedom.
Freedom that is freely given to us after He died on the cross and rose again 3 days later, defeating death and sin, and inviting us into a new relationship with Him.
When I chose to put my life in the hands of God and be vulnerable with it 5 years ago, I allowed Jesus to come into my life and redefine my identity, no longer allowing it to be dictated by the darkness that comes from the sinful nature of the world.
When Jesus is invited fully into our life, sin cannot coexist.
So, I began to see the fruits of being vulnerable.
I’m not going to lie, it’s still incredibly difficult bearing my heart and soul to people, knowing that I’m showing an ugly side of me… But when it’s done with a person that you know has your best interests at heart (i.e. Jesus, a mentor, a friend, etc.), you give the perfect platform for healing to happen.
And actually, I’ve found it’s a springboard for you to grow and develop as a person!
As you begin to prune the negative areas of your life, it gives space and frees up resources for the positives to grow.
For me and my story, when I cut out porn I found I could have meaningful relationships with women again. And where at one point I could not speak to one person about my porn problem, I now have the confidence to stand up in front of hundreds to speak out about the issue, in the faith that it will help them.
So, what’s going on for you in the secret place right now?
How can you be vulnerable in the right way and with the right people, knowing it’ll bring you freedom?
And will you let Jesus be a part of your life so you can experience freedom in all it’s fullness?