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The results of being vulnerable...Part 2

To be completely honest, I was flooded with conflicting emotions after I hit send on that email. Part of me was relieved, and proud, because I had actually taken that difficult step, part of me felt small a taste of this foreign emotion called "peace" that I had heard so much about...and then those emotions began to be overshadowed by all of the darker, contrasting emotions. The light that I had just began to feel...the light that was showing me what it felt like to have some of the weight of this dark secret lifted off of my shoulder...was taking me right back to my dark and lonely place again. My mind was compounded with negative thoughts and feelings... "Why did you share something so personal?", "Nobody wants to hear about that.", "Sharing this only makes you look weak, and less of a man." (this was a really big one because it started to threaten my masculinity and "my version" of people's perception of me). It just went on and on and I was finding it difficult to give myself pep talks, or to actually believe my own pep talks. It was one of those situations where I could give this advice to others all day long, but to actually follow it myself seemed futile.

I finally had to get up and walk away from my email because I was obsessing over it. I found something to pacify myself (somewhat) but mentally and emotionally I had convinced myself that I had just made a huge mistake opening myself up to people so close to me, and that they would never look at me the same again.

Side hindsight, this was a great lesson in the difference between perceived reality (what I perceived to be the truth) and actual reality (the real truth). I'm going to pick this topic up again in another blog because this is a HUGE struggle for me that I think you will be able to relate to.

Later that day I sat back down to my laptop and hesitantly hit the refresh button in my email. As I reluctantly opened the response emails from two of our closest friends, Cristin & Joey, chills literally went down my spine and tears filled my eyes. As you read, you will see why I was immediately overwhelmed with feelings of complete acceptance and unconditional love. The darkness that I had allow taint my mind with feelings in inadequacy, fear and judgement were replaced with grace, love and encouragement. It was because of their words of encouragement in these emails (and Bobby's continued love and encouragement) that I have felt comfortable enough (well, comfortable enough with being uncomfortable) to uncover and share so much with you all these last few weeks. This is my result of being vulnerable...

Cristin's email:

First of all thank you so much for being vulnerable with us and trusting us with this part of your story. I have tears in my eyes because of the beautiful raw-ness of your email and the posts that I have read so far. I hope you know how much we love you (and Bobby) and how you sharing this truly means the world to me. You and Bobby coming into our lives has been such a gift from God and I do not say that lightly. Off the bat to have such a sense of community, trust, depth and love is only a testament to God's grace for all of us. We love and treasure you both so much and I really am so honored to walk along side of you in this up and down Fatih walk. Wish I could give you a big hug right now...

Joey's email:

This means a lot to me that you would trust us with your story and struggle. You have always come across as such a confident person who walks very self-assured in himself and in Christ. I have learned that everyone is fighting; this actually helps me in social situations because I know everyone is struggling with something and ultimately just wants to be accepted for who they are, no matter the front they put up. You and Bobby have made us feel very accepted and loved. I have walked away from every time we have spent with you feeling encouraged and loved; that says much more about you than it does about us. I think a very good gauge for someone is how you feel when you are with them, which places you at the top of that scale. I am convinced reading your blog that you are going to have a platform to speak Truth into the lives of people who are struggling with this.

Wow. If that isn't a true testament to God's love working through other people, I just don't know what is. With that, the light within me grows just a little bit brighter today and for once, I just don't have words to describe how truly blessed I feel.

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