Tag Archives: vulnerability

How Well Do You Rest & Receive?

Neighborly Love, Part IV


Point to Ponder:
Do you rest and receive?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

As I continue to read the book The Art of Neighboring (the inspiration of our Neighborly Love journal series), chapter 8 “The Art of Receiving” has my soul stirring. Why…because I am a terrible receiver, and I think it’s safe to say that most of us prefer being the giver and doer for others, rather than being the receiver. We are women who are designed to nurture, give and serve which is all wonderful and beautiful; however, I’m curious if the pendulum has swung so far to the service, giving and doing side that our ability to be available and receive love, help and service from others has become painful and next to impossible. I suggest this because this is me and my life.

To be absolutely honest, receiving makes me squirm and feel weak. Just last night a sweet family invited us to dinner so they could introduce us to their friends. Being “the new kids on the block”, we were beyond grateful for their kindness, hospitality, and generosity, but Russell and I left asking one another, “beyond writing a thank you note, bringing a bottle of wine, flowers and saying thank you a million times, what more can we do to let them know how grateful we are?!” While my restless and discontent soul desires to take action and do something for them, I know that my opportunity is to practice receiving my neighbor’s beautiful love, and I wonder if this is an opportunity for you too?

In Chapter 8, The Art of Receiving, the authors wrote this,

“Great neighborhoods are built on reciprocal relationships, on two-way streets. At the end of the day, no one wants to feel like a project. We want to feel that we bring something to the table. But, when it comes to neighboring well, one of the biggest temptations is to turn neighbors into projects. We put on the “super neighbor cape” and rush out to serve our neighbors and make a difference on the block. This really isn’t a bad thing, but if this is all we ever do, then our relationships will be empty. If we don’t allow people to meet any of our needs, we limit what God wants to do in our neighborhood and in our life. To be on the receiving end is very difficult. Our tendency is to put ourselves in a position of power- being the one to give. We want to be seen as the capable one with the resources and answers. But being in a relationship where we allow others to meet our needs is always a good thing. The art of neighboring involves our being able to give of our time and energy, and just as important, to receive from others.”

Ay-yi-yi! That’s me! I loathe feeling weak and always want to be in a power position–even when it comes to my relationship with my husband (my closest neighbor). Ironically, last night while at the dinner table, I had an incredible conversation with one of the women, who like me and maybe even you, is blessed and cursed with the perfectionist, achievement, accomplishment and busy bug. She reminded me that our greatest opportunity is to rest and receive God’s love, which often is our neighbors love. However, if we’re busy doing all of the time, how will we ever fully receive all of the love?  More importantly, if we don’t allow ourselves to fully receive the love, how will we ever be able to fully give the love we are created to give?

So, what’s the formula to being able to receive? According to the book, it’s humility and vulnerability. Having humility allows us to admit that we actually need help, and vulnerability gives us to the courage to put ourselves out there and ask for help. And, per the wisdom from my new friend, I am also adding rest, meaning a little time everyday– away from all of our ridiculous distractions (I mean really?!? We are inundated!), like our phones, computers, television, radio, work, people, and busy schedules, where you can be still and available to meditate, pray, and tune into our Divine Source. For me, this is a time of prayer, asking God to expose my weaknesses and prideful ways so that I can hear Him and be fully present and available to receive all of the love He has for me, which is also the love that we allow ourselves to receive from our neighbors.

Action Item:
Allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to stop and receive love, help and service from others.

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How Kathleen is In the Game

Vulnerability Lost is Intimacy GainediGnite - Share your StrugglesPoint to Ponder:
Are you struggling with something that you haven’t shared with others out of shame or fear of being judged?

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

I am truly not afraid of trying anything new, especially if it involves a good dose of adrenaline!! But since childhood my biggest fears have been failure and judgement by others.

In my classes I have often shared my father’s philosophy on happiness: “Happiness is found through your accomplishments.” Growing up with this mantra was quite scary. If I was not winning, getting a promotion at work, or raising perfect kids, I was not going to be happy. I was so proud and would not share any of my misfortunes with others. Even my best friend in high school didn’t know about my crazy family situation I was going through for four years! My four daughters were FAR from perfect and gave us a wild ride for many years. It wasn’t until the last few years that I embraced my NEW mantra: “Vulnerability lost is intimacy gained.”

Being afraid to show vulnerability kept me from having fuller and deeper relationships for years. How great it feels to be transparent and hopefully help others through all of the trials I have lived in my 54 years!

Facing my other fear — the fear of failure — I still have. When it comes to competing in the Austin Fittest Competition each year, I go to win, not just to compete. That sure makes it less fun. iGnite member Martha Lynn Mangum opened my eyes this year to focusing on having fun and enjoying the competition and not thinking about the win. I have to say it was the most fun out of the four years I participated! I took down my guard and got to know my competitors on a deeper level afterwards and the day ended with all of us being friends instead of competitors. The bonus was I still won, but had much more fun!

Action Item:
Consider opening up to a loved one about something you’re struggling with, and notice how your relationship deepens and your burden is lifted.

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The Power of Accepting & Sharing Who We REALLY Are

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself not responding to questions or situations authentically
in order to avoid others having a negative opinion of you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Do you ever find yourself wanting to laugh out loud, ask a question, make a comment or take an action, but instead you don’t follow through to avoid drawing attention to yourself, risking that someone might think you’re strange, or fear they will think negatively of you? I do, and that’s one of the areas I think we all can make self improvement strides in to see rich results.

Last February during our Winter Renewal Retreat, one of our guest speakers Dave Sunde said, Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.” Let me repeat that: Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.  For me, that was an epic A-HA! moment. Ever since Brené Brown brought the concept of vulnerability to light for me I have strived to be more vulnerable, but the idea of intimacy being the result of vulnerability- wow! That’s a game-changer and makes perfect sense… but it’s scary!

Intimacy doesn’t just refer to marriage or a physical relationship, it’s the result of anyone fully opening themselves up and letting others take a look into their desires, imperfections and messy life.  It’s loving ourselves enough to confidently express ourselves without the fear of rejection or need for approval. It’s being brave and courageous enough say YES to our passions and the things and people we love, because when you say yes to what feeds your heart, you’re giving others permission to join you. Being and living out exactly who we are is the highest form of intimacy, and that is where real life begins.

One of my favorite examples of vulnerability resulting in intimacy (and personal fulfillment and success) is Jake Worthington. Jake is a true country boy from La Port, Texas and the only thing fancy about him is his authenticity, which is brilliant. In 2013, after not making it past the blind auditions on The Voice, rather than slink away humiliated in front of millions of viewers and assume he wasn’t good enough, he respectfully asked the panel of judges how he could improve. The courageous result was his return in 2014 and finishing second place overall. I don’t know about you, but that kind of boldness inspires me to the ends of the earth and proves there’s only one way to live, and that’s passionately vulnerable so we can share our gifts and have intimate, rich, and meaningful relationships and life experiences. It’s a self-improvement opportunity for all of us and I invite you to watch Jake, witness his passion, honesty, vulnerability and ability to create intimacy. It’s mind-blowing and I love it!

Action Item:
Focus on being more vulnerable in your interactions with people this week,
and notice how much more rich and intimate those experiences become.
And, of course, watch the video below to be inspired by Jake’s comeback performance 🙂

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Live With No Guarantees

Vulnerability pushed, I pushed back. I lost the fight — but probably won my life back.

-Brené Brown

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

As mentioned a few weeks ago, myself and eleven other iGnite leaders and members attended the Texas Conference for Women. Brené Brown, an inspirational researcher and story teller, was one of the keynote speakers who spoke on the power of vulnerability. I must be honest, my first reaction to vulnerability is weakness, because if you’re vulnerable you are weak and cowardly, right? But, it wasn’t until Brené described it in her terms that I completely grasped the full power and potential of vulnerability, which is brilliant!

One of the stories Brené told was about a young man who randomly stopped her after watching her talk on TED.com. He explained that her talk inspired him to tell his girlfriend that he loved her; however, his vulnerable moment didn’t turn out as he had hoped. His girlfriend did not return the enduring gesture and told him they should see other people.

Unfortunately, this young man’s story didn’t end the way he had hoped, but I absolutely think he did the right thing. Obviously, this girl wasn’t the one he was supposed to be with and, as we all know, experiencing a broken heart is part of life and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Furthermore, if we lead and live our lives with our whole hearts, meaning we get out of our logical and non-risk-taking heads, disappointment and heartache may certainly be an occasional result, however we will live with no regrets nor “what if’s” and live a life filled with joy!

In essence, whether or not we lead with our heads or our hearts, life will always be filled with distressing moments that can and will harden our hearts and cause us to avoid taking risks and experience potential failure. However, to use the words of Brené, which are also heard in the video of the week, “Stop controlling and predicting, and do something with no guarantees.” Dang that’s good stuff and I highly encourage you to take the twenty minutes and watch this life-changing (and funny) talk!

Point To Ponder:
Do previous disappointments prevent you from taking risks and enjoying life to the fullest?

Action Item:
Do something that you have always wanted to do but fear has prevented you from doing so.