Dan and I planted a little weeping blue spruce in our front yard two years ago. Some might say she looks a bit Dr. Seuss-ish, but I think she’s beautiful.
For Christmas, we wrapped her in a string of lights, but in the dark, the tree appears to be droopier … as if she can’t bear up under the weight of the tiny white lights.
Dr. Brené Brown once said:
Vulnerability is not about winning, and it’s not about losing. It’s about having the courage to show up and be seen. … It’s tough to do that when you’re terrified about what people might see or think.Dr. Brené Brown
This describes our little weeping blue spruce. She shows up every day. Courageously. And doesn’t care what people think of her.
It was Nanea Hoffman who said:
I hope you remember that when you let people see the messy, flawed, goofy reality of you, it’s like you’re giving them a gift. Some people won’t appreciate it, but others will smile with relief and recognition and say, “Oh, thank GOODNESS. I’m not the only one!”Nanea Hoffman
We’re all flawed and messy and bent out of shape. But here’s the thing: we shouldn’t be afraid to show this imperfect side because it’s what makes us real.
Being open about who we are and what we struggle with is risky. What if the person you’re being honest with doesn’t handle your vulnerable self with carefulness? What if that person stomps on the heart you’ve just opened to them? That’s risky stuff.
But not taking those risks, not opening our hearts to be loved—or stomped on—is far worse than risking love and being loved in return.
The epic risk God took
God took a big risk. And, of course, because he is God and not bound by time, he knew it would turn out badly. He knew his heart would get broken. And yet he made himself vulnerable. He opened his heart to having kids, but also to experiencing pain from those very same kids.
It’s always worth the risk to let people in. Because when we carry people closely in our hearts, not held at arm’s length, and when we reveal who we really are and what we grapple with—which could cause people to proclaim, “What? You too?!”—well, that kind of courage enlarges our lives.
I don’t know if our little weeping blue spruce has overheard comments from people walking up to our front door: “What an odd-looking tree,” but she’s never mentioned any insults. She doesn’t seem to care that she can’t stand tall and straight. And so, I keep telling her how beautiful and brave she is.
If I could give you a New Year’s gift for 2024, it would be the courage to share your real self. I want you to not fear being defenseless at times, to not be afraid to ask for help. I want for you the gift of bravery and resilience.