Day 250: Being Vulnerable, Not a Punching Bag (September 7)

This week while walking through challenging situations with some of my kids, I was struck with this thought.  As a mom, I have a choice to remain vulnerable with my kids.  I can choose how open I am to them.  How much I let them have access to my heart.  I attempt to remain very open and vulnerable with all those close with me, but there is a line, I don’t allow them to use my vulnerability as a way for them to get out their frustrations by using me as a punching bag.  Do you know what I mean?

Husbands and wives must consider this all the time.  As spouses, we know each other so well, it can make us easy targets for the frustrations of life.  Have you ever been mad about something completely unrelated to your kids or spouse, but taken out those frustrations out on them anyway?  I think we are all guilty of this on some level.

But being abused, emotionally, by someone isn’t an excuse to stay closed off to everyone else.  It’s true that some people are toxic for us, but not all.  There are and always will be a lot of great people on the earth.

So, I came to my children and got on their physical level, by kneeling down or sitting with them, and made eye contact and let them pour their hearts out to me.  When one started to get angry with me, I said, “You are not mad at me, you’re mad about this situation and it has nothing to do with me.  I will listen and help you walk through this, but you must stop being hateful with me.”  These words seemed to give them a release.  Almost as if they wanted permission to share their hearts.  It was amazing.  They calmed down and seemed to really trust me in a deeper way.

You may be wondering what this has to do with you.  Well, maybe you have been hurt by someone in the past and since then, decided to never be open to others again.  Friend, that is no way to live.  God did not design you to live that way.

If you become intentional in learning proper boundaries and become deliberate about making yourself available to others, you may be pleasantly surprised.  Most people welcome a healthy relationship.  Most enjoy knowing where you stand and how best they can communicate with you.  Likewise, most people enjoy someone who cares enough about them to truly listen.  Most people desire to be known, just like you.

Are you willing?

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:1-7