Dry Bones

A desire for connection is within the roots of every person
whether we claim it or not.
Its innate
A nagging
A longing for more. 
It's in the connection of our souls with another person that something ignites inside our hearts. 
We feel heard and in turn, 
We feel understood.

In the search for connection we often mistake conversation for it.
An exchange of simple words
A get together or a meeting
But an exchange needs something deep to mold it into something more
And what it needs often feels so uncomfortable that we decide to leave it surface.
Masking connection and trading simple for our true desire.

Why does vulnerability feel so gross sometimes?
It makes me feel as though I'm standing on stage in front of a crowd of judges
As if what I am going to say would cost so much that by not saying it I am further ahead.
So I keep it in
And I think I feel better for it
Tell myself I will share my story another time.

Awhile back, we were invited to dinner at a friend's and mentors' home.
After a dinner of naan bread and curry we settled into comfy chairs with hot coffee in hand
Bellies full but still hungry for good conversation.
They asked me some questions but the topic was a hard one
A place I hadn't gone much 
A subject that still made me hurt inside.
I felt my insides begin to fill with a familiar tsunami and the reminder of my inability to swim.

I answered their questions and dared the great wave of vulnerability.
I told them the story
I gave them a snippet of my heart's rhythm
But my body was performing its own tempo.
It began with a warmth and trailed into a tremble
I sat there 
In the safe space it was
Sharing my story
All the while my body physically shaking.

On the drive home I was confused 
I said to God, "I thought I had overcome this stuff,
I thought I was free."
It's like the hard work I had done to speak out
To not sit on the sidelines anymore and watch everyone else on the stage
To be bold 
To choose brave
To not hide anymore
And in the bravery I felt like the fool.

The next day I recapped the night to a good friend,
She listened
The way a safe friend would. 
And then she spoke words of wisdom over me and I understood.
"You have never stood where you stood last night.
You have spent the greater part of your life not speaking those things out loud.
Give your body time to catch up.
Give your body grace to adjust to the light."

You see, vulnerability can do something physical within us.
It might be goosebumps
Heart race
The hold it has is so great and yet vulnerability holds the key to true connection.
It allows them in
It allows the feeling of being known
And I want to be known.
Its a beautiful thing to be seen and that night they saw me
I had let them in.

I am reminded of the story in Ezekial
The valley of dry bones.
The Lord led Ezekial around the bones and asked him,
"Can these bones become living people again?"
Ezekial looked around at the valley scattered with these dry and dusty bones.
He saw them as they were, 
And he said to God, "Only You know that answer."

Then God said to the bones that lay hopeless on the valley ground,
"I am going to breathe life into you and make you live again!"
And a loud rattling noise began and the bones lifted up off the ground and became skeletons,
Empty formations of the life that once lived in them.
Then muscle formed again over the bones
Then flesh.

God tells Ezekial to speak a command over the skeletons and call for breath
A call for life to come back into the dry bones
And then it comes,
The breath
And they all stood up on their feet.

 This picture of the dry bones coming alive again reminds me of our vulnerable stories,
Laying dry and dusty in the valley of self protection.
When I gave my identity over to Christ He promised that no part of me was a wasted moment.
He told me I was all a plan He orchestrated
Every minute
Not a dry bone wasted.

Vulnerability to share our stories and experiences is a gift from Him
It's Him picking up a bone we wished we wouldn't have broken and Him saying to us,
"Let me breathe life back into this one"
Vulnerability is like taking a walk into the valley with Him and Him telling me He rewrites my life.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.  And I will put my spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.  
-Ezekial 36:26-27

When I gave God my life He gave me new life in Him.
He took my stony stubborn heart and replaced it with tenderness.
In the tenderness flows the vulnerability
In the gentleness flows the truth.

Connection is something I have added to my priority list in the last few years
When I connect with another human in a deep way
Without secrets
False personas
I sense Heaven.

Vulnerability has been the key to unlocking my true self
To experiencing the real transformation of my story in Christ
To see the evidence of how He makes all things new
And the chance to know real connection.
So I challenge you
Let your body adjust to the light
Will you brave the tsunami of vulnerability and learn you don't have to swim?
Everybody knows, 
With Christ we walk on water.

Lord, take me further into the waves of true openness
Lead me deeper into the goodness of my identity in you.
Show me how to choose connection over small talk
Show me how to choose the real me over the me I wish I was sometimes.
Thank you for the way You have led me into greater freedom
And I ask that You would continue to hold me up
To be my strength when it feels hard
To keep me close when I'm shaking.
And remind me who I am in You.
I love you Lord


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