But You, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. (Psalm 3:3, NIV)

Writing and posting a devotion that will be read by thousands of people requires vulnerability and a willingness to feel exposed. It’s not too different from standing on the first hole to hit your tee shot while other eyes are watching. Every time I hit the send button to our editor, Jeff Hopper, I feel a surge of apprehension. Doubt creeps around my gut, whispering that the result is not worthy to read.

I felt these similar taunts every time I teed up for a tournament round as the crowd gathered around. The first tee shot doesn’t make or break a round, but it sure does something good to the nervous system when the trajectory of the ball soars down the middle of the fairway. A good result pleased me and the fans.

Dr. Brené Brown’s definition of vulnerability is “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She adds, “But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage.” If this is true, then instead of allowing our first tee jitters and nerves to hinder our abilities, we might embrace our courage to push through our doubts.

Thinking beyond golf, many people, myself included, feel vulnerable with the idea of speaking our fears, failures, doubts, shame, grief, joy, or passions with another person. We might experience trembling, a loss of words, or heat rising through the body. Most often it’s because our own judgement and shame leaves us feeling unworthy to be seen or heard.

Before I move to my conclusion, it’s important to understand that we don’t have to share our feelings or our stories with everyone we know or encounter. Yet we are all created for relationship and connection. Regardless of personality, each one of us needs one or two trusted people with whom we can share the vulnerable places of our hearts. These relationships encourage us, remain steadfast, and hold no judgment. They lift our heads with their love and compassion.

What’s my point? Instead of being afraid and stuck, what if we welcome distressful body sensations with curiosity? What if we believe vulnerability is not weakness but courage? And, what if we trust that God cares about our vulnerable feelings and will lift our heads up when it all feels like too much?

The first tee jitters are a real thing. Sharing vulnerable feelings with another person can be frightening. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s an opportunity to be courageous.

Tracy Hanson
October 1, 2020
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