I’m sure you know the little girl (or boy). You know the one I mean – the toddler who always insists on doing everything without help. Climbing stairs, putting on shoes – all those things that take three times as long, because they insist they don’t need help. Maybe that’s your reality right now? Or maybe you were that child? I certainly was! Little Miss Independent, that was me! Not that I remember, of course, but I’ve heard the stories again and again.
“Little Miss Independent” grew up, but the independent streak kept going strong. Which if you are going to live this crazy cross-cultural life, is maybe not such a bad thing! We all need it as we find ourselves in new and unfamiliar situations, having to figure things out.
Over the years, however, my independent streak has also been one of those things that the Lord has kept challenging me about. You see, for me at least, this desire for independence doesn’t just come out in practical ways. Actually, that was the easy part. As the years pass, your body starts telling you that, no, you are not able to carry that heavy bag. Or reach something way up high when you’re “vertically challenged”. It’s ok to ask for help.
However, being willing to talk about struggles and questions, to ask for help and support with those – that’s a whole other story. Oh, there are always good reasons not to share. “People will not understand”, “I won’t be able to express well what I mean”, “Other people have far more needs”. And so on and so forth. I am the Queen of Good Excuses, so if you ever need one, do feel free to contact me!
I am so incredibly grateful for the Lord’s patience in helping me grow, and for people who have journeyed with me in this. Friends who have modelled vulnerability, who have not given up on me, who have spoken truth into my life.
I joined my first Connection Group when I was in the throes of re-entry and desperate to connect with others who “got it”. Since then, I have had the privilege of being part of a few groups. I love the sense of camaraderie, of feeling understood, of learning from each other, of being encouraged. And yet. It still takes courage to take that step of sharing honestly about what’s going in my life. Every. Single. Time. “Little Miss Independent” is still very reluctant to show vulnerability.
Only now am I realising how much in this particular season, the Lord has been using Connection Groups to help me continue along this path, to keep growing and developing. What a gift to have a context that encourages sharing that is not built around work and getting things done. To have a group of women taking time out of busy schedules to connect, to share, to encourage. I feel incredibly blessed and humbled. Yet I know that again, it will take courage. Again, the Lord will nudge me to choose vulnerability and connection over independence. Again, it will stretch me. Currently having to do a lot of stretching exercises for my knee brought it home again: stretching is not necessarily fun. But boy is it good for me!
So to all who I’ve had the privilege of being in a Connection Group with (you know who you are!) – thank you! I am the better for the times we shared.
How are you experiencing the tension between independence and vulnerability? How has the Lord been challenging and growing you in this area?
We still have openings in Connection Groups! Are you a mom of young kids, special need kids, kids in boarding school? We have a group for you. Are you looking for connection with people who “get it”? We have groups for you too. Register here.
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