Life has been wild these past few months. I got married to my best friend and greatest woman in the galaxy. The holiday season was wild and fast. I lost one of my jobs. Danielle got a great job. We went on our honeymoon and had the best time. I started writing more. Danielle went back to finish up her school. So wild, filled with highs and lows. Yet, in all of it, I feel so very free. Normally, when I talk about what’s been going on in my personal life, I put a post under the title of “journey update,” but this didn’t seem to fit that style. Yes, this is a sort of update, mainly me laying out the things that have happened that I’ve only alluded to in my recent posts. I’ve been processing and reflecting a lot, maybe it’s the new year mindset of looking back and moving forward, but I think God has been speaking to me a lot. So, this is a personal post. It might go off on some tangents, but I promise that God wanted me to share the things I’ve been learning because it’s important to every single one of you who are struggling. Maybe you’ve hit a wall or feel like what you wanted seems far off, this, this is for you.
Fear really is the worst. When I lost my job, I was really afraid. I was worried because I had just become a husband and that’s what a man is supposed to do right? Provide, but here I was with a part time job in after school teaching (which has been such an amazing place to be, shout out to the GMS). It could have been easy to get mad or be angry, but I wasn’t. The truth is the job I was at for a year was fantastic experience, it just came time for that door to close. January was going to be that door close, and I was fearful of finances and being able to provide, but God was there in my wife and I’s vulnerability. We found out her new job was promoting her to full time, putting us in a better spot than we had before! The thing that I keep learning is that fear just lies to us, over and over, it preys on the same insecurities we have. Fear is a tool from Satan, and as I like to put this simple truth (Maybe ‘cause I get to swear a little bit), the devil is a damned liar. It’s all he does, lie. Why then do I myself, and all of you, keep listening to lies? We need to stop listening to it. We need to start being vulnerable with the one that will make a way in the desert, the one who will always deliver us into freedom if we let him.
Be vulnerable with your king.
Overly macho dudes annoy me. Think Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, the people who pretend to be the best and have never had a bad day in their life. Ugh. We sometimes act this way with our relationship with Jesus. We try to act like we are just the best Christians, “I’ve never struggled in my life,” “#blessed.” Stop it. We all struggle because we have all fallen short. God doesn’t want us to pretend to have it all together, God wants authenticity from you. I’ve been referencing Gideon’s story for a while now, I was told I need to meditate on it until I was ready, and there is one final thing I have noticed about this story. After the soldiers were reduced a couple of times, God tells Gideon he is ready to go into battle. The only thing is, you aren’t going to be fighting. Gideon and his men were vulnerable, armed with trumpets, torches, and empty jars, but they trusted God despite their vulnerability (Judges 7:15-21). The odds were not in the favor of Gideon and his soldiers, but they not only win, but they barely have to fight at all. God provides a way to win the fight, even when it doesn’t make sense. God doesn’t make sense, and that’s beautiful.
For me, I feel pretty vulnerable sometimes. Words of affirmation are pretty big in my love languages, with giving and receiving gifts a close second. If I’m not careful, I try to earn the affirmation of others. I look at views and likes on my blogs and Medium articles because I want to be affirmed for what I am passionate about. In the ministry realm, I would try so hard to gain attention and affirmation from others. I found myself stressing out and trying to be like someone I wasn’t in front of my bosses. That’s not healthy. I learned this from my wife when she would tell me I wasn’t me when I got caught up in all of that. The truth is, and this is the thing I’ve been growing in, I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, God has made me to be me. All I want is to run after God with everything that I am. That means if the views are low for a post, that doesn’t make me less of a writer. If I don’t have pastors telling me I’m amazing, it doesn’t mean I haven’t left a positive impact on someone. My affirmation is not in others, but in God alone. In my vulnerability, I am looking at God and trusting that he will make a way, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Walk in freedom, one step at a time.
You don’t run a marathon when you want to start running. Freedom takes time, because forgiveness and cutting old ties takes time. After I graduated from university, I went into the ministry field. Interning and having my after-school position, then turned into a part time position and the part time afternoon. I didn’t take the route that many Communication Studies folks do after college, but now, I’m in a place of unknowns. I’m trying to figure out what this next season looks like for me, ministry or degree-based jobs. You know what the funny thing is, I need to look and apply. I find myself asking God to open doors, but I haven’t even started knocking. Again, being vulnerable with you, because the fear of rejection is real. So, that’s my first step, updating my resume and making it represent me, and then putting it out there. I know, it’s super spiritual, but sometimes God tells us just to take the next step and trust him with the rest.
I want to be like Gideon. I know that I can’t do it all on my own, I don’t have as big an army as my opposition, and I’m armed with inadequate tools, but my God is on my side ready to do the impossible.
What are you facing? What is the beast in your life that is making you afraid to move forward? Fear is a big obstacle, and choosing to be vulnerable can seem like the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Vulnerability with your king is the first step in the walk of freedom. Take the next step. You don’t have to wait for a burning bush, take the next step. Pray and ask God what fears are holding you back. Then step into those fears, allow God to do the impossible in your life. God’s path doesn’t always make sense, but it’s the best path you could ever walk.
Choose to be vulnerable and begin to live free.
One thought on “Vulnerable and Free”
Joshua, thankyou for your vulnerability this morning – I just took a step in fear – writing a note to someone who could tear me to shreds – and yet – behind his proud demeaner I see his insecurity and desire to be liked and valued. Your writing has brought me conformation that God is in this thing. Keep listening to God and writing His words – You are in my prayers…Judy