Fear and Vulnerability in the Waiting Times

What makes you feel vulnerable? Maybe it’s showing emotion, particularly sadness or tears. Or perhaps it’s going to a conference and trying to network with people in your field. It could be displaying your art for others to see.

Whatever causes it, vulnerability is that feeling of our hearts lying exposed on a table.

It’s uncomfortable.

I’ve had a lot of that feeling lately. Because I've been doing a lot of waiting.

Vulnerability comes on strong in the waiting times of life.

Sending a nerve-wracking email and waiting for a response. Getting together with possible friends and waiting to see if they become deep relationships. Applying for a new job and waiting to see if I get it. Asking questions and waiting for answers.

The longer I wait, the more my heart tries to leap off the table and jump back inside. It just feels so… unprotected. Risky. Helpless.

Naked.

The waiting time turns to a wondering time. Questions circle around and around in my thoughts. Doubts about my identity and worth. How was I perceived? Am I liked? Am I valuable? Do I have a place?

With each question, my hands creep closer to my heart. Wanting to pick it up. Wanting to guard it from being this defenseless again.

That’s what I used to do. I used to keep it locked up in a suitcase. Protected, but stifled.

No. That is no way to live.

Waiting is a necessary part of putting ourselves out there. The only way to avoid the waiting would be to avoid taking the risks. And then, what would happen to our relationships? Our dreams? Our future?

Waiting is difficult, but it is worth it.

I know that is true. I know it. But still, in the midst of the waiting and wondering, I feel shaken and fearful.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

At first, when I read this, I feel frustrated. I berate myself for my lack of faith.

But then I realize how my fear points me to God. And I read the verse again.

Because many days, many many days, I don’t live like God is my stronghold. I live like I am my stronghold. Fully in control. Resolute and tough. Determined in my movements towards my goals.

I live many days as if I don’t need God at all.

But in these days? These days of waiting and wondering and fearing? In these days I have a deep reminder that I cannot actually live this life in my own strength.

I am grateful for the reminder.

And as I reflect on the state of my emotions, it points me towards what I am really waiting for. I am not waiting for answers. I am waiting for God. I am waiting for His transformation of my heart. His redirection of my confidence. His calming of my soul.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:13-14

As I type this, I am still scared. I am still uncomfortable with this vulnerability. But I am confident in God’s goodness.

And that gives me the strength to leave my heart on the table a little longer.

What makes you feel vulnerable? Do you try to protect yourself from that feeling?