Vulnerability is uncomfortable. I’m becoming accustomed to both of those feelings as a midlife mom whose security and comfort in a familiar life stage is slipping away. The fledging years of parenting are a revolving door of change. Many days, I feel vulnerable and somewhat naked. Motherhood has disrobed me with each child walking out the door. I’m left with a body, brain, and heart I’m unfamiliar with.
Living through a worldwide pandemic brings even more instability in a life that once was sure. In the last year, I’ve experienced death of a parent from COVID, an empty nest, a new job, and other significant changes. Surprising emotions come out of nowhere. Anxiety, sadness, and tears freely flow at the most unexpected times.
Every new situation brings an element of tenderness and uncertainty. I wonder if you feel vulnerable, too, with what has changed in your life. You may not be experiencing midlife hormones or a changing family, but perhaps you’re parenting school-age children or teens for the first time. You might be newly divorced, widowed, or experiencing another type of significant loss.
How do you and I handle vulnerable experiences? Here are four things I’ve found helpful, both personally and as a counselor.
- Clothe yourself with God’s word. Scripture is timeless. Because God doesn’t change (Micah 3:6), the principles in His word don’t change. Consistently read the Bible, applying what you learn when life quickly changes.
- Be comfortable in your skin. Accept where you are. Don’t hurry away what feels vulnerable or tender. Instead, be present in your life as it is. Accept what you can’t control and focus on what you can. Be gentle with yourself and have appropriate expectations of yourself and others. It’s okay to be right where you are.
- Take care of yourself. Practice self-care for your body, soul, and spirit. Say yes to things that fuel you and no to things that deplete you in this season of vulnerability. Set boundaries and speak up for your needs. Doing so may feel uncomfortable, but it also equips you to be healthy and strong in your season.
- Reach out. Vulnerable spaces may be lonely and frightening. Reach out to people you trust. Recently, I talked to my husband about feelings I had. It helped him better understand me when I seem withdrawn, irritable, or sad. I have two prayer partners who I check in with weekly. You may consider seeking a life coach, counselor, or spiritual director during your transitional time, especially if the relationships in your life are unsustainable for your current needs.
Change, loss, and uncertainty are inevitable. So is vulnerability. Don’t fight it. Instead, seek God in your naked and uncomfortable spaces. Let him clothe you with his grace, mercy, and strength.
Father, meet each reader where they are today. Equip them in their season of struggle.
Thank you for meeting our every emotional, spiritual, and physical need. Amen.
Do you wonder how to thrive when life is far beyond the storybook image? Grab Brenda’s free resource toolkit that includes a free ebook “10 Ways Busy Women Find Rest”, a downloadable resource “5 Ways to Heal Hurt”, and a printable prayer card for your family! Get all this when you CLICK HERE!
Brenda L Yoder is a speaker, author, licensed counselor, educator whose passion is encouraging others when life doesn’t fit the storybook image. She’s the co-host of the Midlife Moms podcast and author of Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind, a handbook for parents in the season of raising and releasing kids. You can connect with her ministry and podcast, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, at brendayoder.com, on Instagram at brendayoderspeaks, and if you’re a midlife mom, join the Midlife Mom Community Facebook group! Brenda would love to encourage you right where you are!