Out of my shell

th-6Be vulnerable.

Be open-minded

Look for what you have in common.


Cross over.

Be willing to admit you were wrong.

Be more eager to listen than to talk.

Yesterday’s Catch was about building bridges. It listed 7 different things we could do to help build bridges with people instead of walls. Marti thought it was a brilliant Catch. Then she challenged me to pick them off, one by one, and write about how I’m really doing with each one of these suggestions.

Wait a minute. That’s a violation of the cardinal rule of teaching, which is: The teacher is exempt from having to apply what he/she is teaching to him/herself. If you came up with it, you are obviously doing it. Not.

People say I’m a vulnerable writer/speaker. It’s what many say they like about me. People say it about the Catch. I’m the expert on vulnerability. Maybe so, but it’s a calculated vulnerability.

Whether I’m speaking or writing, I’m doing all the talking. I may be vulnerable, but I’m showing you what I’ve pre-arranged to show you about myself. It’s selected vulnerability. Ask my wife; it’s much different in everyday life.

Vulnerability isn’t something you can calculate or select. You can only BE vulnerable. And only you — and most likely the person you are with, if they know you well enough  — know if you are or you are not being vulnerable. When you are being vulnerable, your defenses are down. You are unguarded. You are unsure of the outcome. You are, to some extent, outside yourself. It’s a little like being emotionally and spiritually naked.

But it’s important that you are present to do this. You are all there. I’m an expert at being there but not being all there. My body is present but myself is not even in the room. This is the hard part, because if you’ve gotten good at doing this, it’s hard to stop.

The best way to do this is to be out of yourself and into someone else. I don’t think you can be vulnerable when focusing on yourself. When you are focused on yourself is when you are calculated, selective and pulling back like a turtle into its shell. I know this all too well. I’m there, I’m talking, my voice is echoing around the shell of my isolation chamber, but I might as well be talking to myself. To focus on someone else is to stick my neck out — to come out of my chamber. I can’t even see or make contact with the other person unless I come out of my shell, and once I do that — without even noticing (because I am no longer self-aware) — I am vulnerable. It happens when you lose yourself in someone else.

Jesus has been saying this all along. He said you won’t find your life until you lose it, because it is in losing hold of it that you will find it in someone else.

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7 Responses to Out of my shell

  1. John Haak says:

    Much needed topic … thanks.
    People recognize this quality as very powerful … see TED Talk … https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

  2. Amen, I also thought yesterday’s CATCH was amazing. Now, we can see a pattern to help us prepare for the journey ahead. The blog talk radio presentation also brought to us an accent on the word triage. I do think the CATCH from my perspective is serious and means business in reaching out to those who have found it to be a place of Welcome, no matter what shape our heart is in, or what darkness or affliction had been wrapping around us.
    The Holy Spirit is and has always been moving, Love Cynthia

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    Tried to be vulnerable in calling my Doctor’s PA to offer an apology and come to find out he already released me as his patient. So called Mike the home health care Biz owner and ask him for help in finding a new Doc. Mike said he had a bit of trouble understanding & also told me his car not here, so he’s not in the office, but will talk to him. I said OK, yet thought I was trying to be big enough in admitting my mistake of being rude, yet still have a bit of trouble asking a Professional a question 6 times and no answer… Therefore we maybe be better off going each other way, my home health person said he’ll talk to him and let me know… Prayers plz…

  4. jwfisch says:

    Good for you to reach out. You may have to be the ones to go all the way across the bridge on this one, but at least you will know you tried. On a professional level, you certainly do deserve someone who will listen to you. You’re paying for that.

    • Mark Seguin says:

      Thx, Pastor John appreciate u & just spoke to my nurse about it and he more or less said wat u did… 🙂
      PS he was pissed off because of his & the office lack of professionalism as in they couldn’t even cal me to let me know he released me and understand he needs to learn patients have questions regarding their care!

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