Fear, Disappointment, & Vulnerability

We have a natural instinct for self-preservation, comfort, and survival.

Life has a way of shaking every one of those instincts to its raw core, doesn’t it? We strive for legacy, we strive for control in order that we may predict the outcome, and we strive for not only mere survival, but also desire a flourished life full of “everything.”

I graduated in May and it’s now nearing the end of October. Roughly five months of unemployment and just about 10 months of active job searching. Let me be clear when I tell you those natural instincts are VERY REAL.

My humanness tells me take the next job offer, even if it’s only part-time and a slap-in-your-face-pay-for-having-a-master’s-degree. My bank account screams, “SAVE” but my instinct for comfort keeps rearing its head when I desire to go shopping for fall boots…(heh!). My disposition for survival has me constantly on my knees praying to the One who knows what’s coming.

Faith goes exceedingly beyond natural instincts.

But why do we have these natural instincts for self-preservation, comfort, and survival?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. When I strip all of those predispositions down and remove my mask of having it all together, I find that I have these because of 1. Fear 2. Disappointment 3. Vulnerability. They’re all connected.

We fear being vulnerable because we do not want to be disappointed.

I’ve had A LOT of disappointment lately…

  • applying and desiring multiple jobs and hearing “no” after “no
  • an 8½ month relationship coming to an end
  • investing and opening up to a new friend only to be…disappointed.

I heard a TED talk a few weeks on vulnerability by Brené Brown. She made different points like…

  • we numb vulnerability
  • we pretend what we do doesn’t have an effect on others
  • we must let ourselves be seen in order to be whole-hearted and healed individuals

Being vulnerable means… investing in relationships that may or may not work…letting go of certainty…believing “I am enough.”

Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, and compassion.”

When I’m on my deathbed, I want to reflect and see that my life was a full of love, joy, and compassion. Yet fear of disappointment will cause me to toss vulnerability right out the window and put on a “brave” shell.

The truth is, it takes a lot more courage to be vulnerable to God, others, and ourselves than it is to be close-hearted to the past, present, and future. The way I see it…it’s an awfully lonely life to refuse to be vulnerable.

To be brave is to be vulnerable.

When I look at life right now, I am faced with different options for the future. There are a couple of choices that may rock my entire world and kick my “comfortable” life in the butt. (This makes me SQIRM with discomfort!) I’m not sure I am ready to be brave and vulnerable, going where I never thought I’d muster the courage to go, but I’m also not sure if I can afford NOT to be brave. If new steps mean the hope of new love, joy, and compassion…then NOT taking those steps could very well mean the opposite.

No matter how great the person, how beautiful the new city, or how alluring the job’s description…disappointment is inevitable. Will we let it cripple our future or will we let it guide us to heal and move forward, remaining brave to be vulnerable to the uncertainty of “everything”?

I suppose I am writing this post mostly to myself, though I hope you resinate with these words too. Don’t let the fear of being disappointed hinder you from going after your dreams. Don’t let the fear of being vulnerable hinder you from healing. Don’t let the fear of being uncomfortable halt you from growing. Trust in a loving Creator that is always near. Be brave to face a “dead” winter, new life is just a season away. Go and be vulnerable, because baby, the best is yet to come!

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2 thoughts on “Fear, Disappointment, & Vulnerability

  1. Great post Shea, I wish I had as much insight as you at your age. You are correct the best is yet to come, as they say in sports “just keep chopping wood”, working at finding a good fit for all your talents, and something will happen good for you. In the immortal words of Jimmy V, “never, never, ever give up”…oh, heck always good to watch to remind us of the preciousness of life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E

  2. Hey Shea….I truly enjoyed your post, but I feel your pain, also. I’m sorry things aren’t going according to your plan, but you know what they say…”We make plans, and God laughs”. There is a path coming to you that you can’t see yet, so keep your chin up and know that I’m sending good energy, light and love in your direction. I hope we can get together soon and laugh a little.

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