That is my 2018 word.
Now what? What does that mean to me? How will I do this? How do I bloom? When I think of something blooming, I imagine sunlight, warmth, joy, happiness, color, smiles. Honestly, that sounds pretty easy. A little sun, water, and soil. Viola. A blooming flower. But for how long? Will it weather the rain and snow? Will it keep coming back year after year? Hearty enough to brave the cold yet gentle and beautiful enough to show its blooming color.
I recently read Brene Brown’s “Braving The Wilderness”. Awe inspiring. Eye opening. Soulful. Overwhelming. Hard to read at times. I can’t get her words out of my head because they are so tangled in my heart. She is speaking to me and the journey I am taking in this one life I have. Her words are pushing me to bloom.
The central theme is being brave in vulnerability. I think to myself, done. I can do vulnerable. Acknowledging pain, sitting in suffering, speaking to fears and insecurities. Being open to who I truly am. If the last two years have shown me, I am an expert in this topic.
The foundation of courage is vulnerability–the ability to navigate uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. It takes courage to open ourselves to joy. In fact, as I’ve written in other books, I believe joy is probably the most vulnerable emotion we experience. We’re afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel it, we’ll get blindsided by disaster or disappointment. That’s why in moments of real joy, many of us dress-rehearse tragedy…We try to beat vulnerability to the punch by imagining the worst or by feeling nothing in hopes that the ‘other shoe won’t drop.’ I call it foreboding joy. –Brene Brown
Joy. Happiness. Great pleasure. Delight. Triumph. Rejoicing. Gladness. Simple emotions that we attempt to have and give every single day. But vulnerability in joy? Never would I have thought of it this way but it’s true. And I live everyday with foreboding joy.
I am scared to feel real and true joy. It scares me because if and when I feel it, I might believe it isn’t true. Why do I deserve joy? What did I do to earn happiness? Or I believe it won’t last. Pain has built a permanent home inside of me. I am comfortable with pain. I know what to do with it. But joy? It feels foreign. It sits with me like a itchy sweater. Warm but I need to keep moving or adjusting it to find the right spot. In the end, I have to take it off because I can’t satisfy the itch.
Brene continues on to say the only way to overcome foreboding joy is gratitude. Being vocal and consistent with gratitude and thankfulness is something I have been working on. I have blogged about this in the past. I have experimented with practices and prayers. Thanking God each and every morning and night. Writing down simple blessings in my life and day. Saying thank you. Showing my appreciation. I am doing this.
Yet, foreboding joy still lingers. I will ruin something before it can even begin. In relationships, events, everyday moments with my kids. Letting my anxiety and its negative thoughts overcome me. Believing what society tells me rather than listening to Christ. Dampening the joy I have because someone else is hurting or suffering or trying to be perfect and please others. I question joy and the reason I have it. Is this person being truthful? What do they want from me? Is the joy real or a mask for pain that I will suffer? When will the next shoe drop?
I am scared of letting my joy outshine my pain. I am scared to allow someone to bring me joy because they can easily take it away; therefore, I won’t even give them the opportunity. I am treading on safe waters right now. A place where I know I am good and happy. But I know it could be better. A more fulfilling joy. It is within my reach.
Still, I am not extending my arms to grab it. I am trying too. I really want it. My heart yearns for it. I continue to seek it within the Lord. I am not giving up. But the comfort of this middle ground is holding me back. Finally, I have strong legs and an even stronger back holding me up. Can I allow myself to remove the armor I placed around my heart? In every aspect of my life. With my blog and words. With my children. With my family and friends. With new adventures, new places, and new people. With my dating life and maybe someone new. Do I dare to dream again?
Bloom. A flourishing, healthy condition;the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry, etc.
Bloom. To flourish or thrive.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, trust, intimacy, courage-everything that brings meaning to our life. -Brene Brown
I need to be brave. I need to stand up and allow this beautiful world into my heart. I need to be vulnerable.
This is my year. The launching point of true happiness. Real courage. Everlasting joy.
The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage. –Brene Brown
I am ready to see how brave I truly can be.