Subtle, Anti-Vulnerability Deceitful Ways

“What does Christmas look like in your home?”

I don’t think my friend saw me shift – squirm, actually – in the seat beside her. Her eyes were on the road as she drove us through town.

“It’s different every year,” I replied, “especially since we moved to Cambodia.” I don’t think we really have any traditions. We pretty much always read the account of Jesus’ birth… we usually do something with our church, but we’re with different people each time, and the events are always different.”


Even as I answered, I felt guilty. Nothing I said was false. The part about Christmas looking different every year was absolutely true. Still, there were other things besides reading the Bible-reading that stayed consistent; I had intentionally left out. I cherry-picked what I chose to share with an agenda to be liked, not to be known.

See, I knew my friend had particular convictions surrounding Christmas and I knew my life wouldn’t align neatly. Thus, I was vague and evasive and I told her what I thought would most likely agree with her.

I didn’t understand the psychology behind what I was doing until I looked back on the conversation in hindsight. I was going on the defense. I was putting up a front to protect myself (and forgetting that my friend loves me and wasn’t out to attack me).

I share with you this one particular story, but it’s not an isolated case. It’s become quite the nasty habit for me, even after 11 months of camping out on the topic of biblical vulnerability.

Sometimes my defensive front is more subtle. There’s no guilt; I simply get a blank (a real blank) when I sense that a conversation might touch on motives or anything deep. I tell the other person that I’m having a hard time remembering or answering their question. I think, however, that if I were to ask them to give me a moment to think, maybe I would remember. I might even get the ball rolling by being honest about why I’m struggling to answer their question.

As I consider this tendency to avoid being vulnerable, I feel convicted that it’s a form of deception. My prayer has become this:

Keep me from deceitful ways;

be gracious to me and teach me your law.

-Psalm 119:29

The Lord can keep us from deceitful ways. The Lord can teach us His law. The word ‘gracious’ struck me as I meditated on this verse. It tells me about the nature of His law; that it’s good and delightful and life-giving.

I want the Lord to keep me from deceitful ways – including from cherry-picking my facts with an agenda. I want Him to write His law on my heart and lead me to live by it, and I know that if it’s His patient work – not my empty striving – I will find that it is good.

Let’s talk

  • Do you prefer to be liked or to be known?
  • Do you ever guard yourself against even people who love you and aren’t seeking to hurt you?
  • What does Christmas look like in your home?

9 thoughts on “Subtle, Anti-Vulnerability Deceitful Ways

  1. I think what you subconsciously do is something I subconsciously do sometimes too. Would I rather be well liked or known? Known. Because if I’m not known then I’m being liked for the wrong reasons.
    I think sometimes maybe I can be on guard, even with those I love. Not intentionally though.
    What does Christmas look like in my home? Well we have a tree and other decorations, we usually set up a “snack table” where we keep hot chocolate and other Christmas food we snack on, we listen to Christmas music from Nov. through Dec., we read the Christmas story in the Bible, we watch Christmas movies….. my family and I love Christmas.


    1. I like the way you put it, Sarah, that if we’re not known then we’re being liked for the wrong reasons… or for something that we’re not. Of course, I’d rather be both. 😉 What’s amazing is that the Lord knows us fully and that never stopped Him from loving us.

      It sounds like Christmas is a very welcome time in your home. I hope your celebrations are characterized by His joy and meditation – this year as much as any.


  2. Do you prefer to be liked or to be known?:
    I’d much rather have people know my true convictions and not pretend that I’m someone else just to be liked. However, I don’t usually share too much about myself because I’m not very outgoing/willing to share myself with more than a select few.

    Do you ever guard yourself against even people who love you and aren’t seeking to hurt you?:

    What does Christmas look like in your home?:
    Looooooooooots of decorations. 😛 The house gets draped in lights, we have a tree that’s amassed a ton of ornaments over the years, and … other decor basically everywhere. My mom really gets into it, and I love it. And … we have a lot of little traditions and stories we read and movies we watch and advent and other stuff. It’s too much to explain in one comment. 😉


    1. This is mostly speculation since I’m not in the minds of “we all,” but I think that we all would say that we’d rather be known than liked when we stop to think about it. I think that we all recognize the nobleness of standing by that which we’re convinced of. But I think that being liked has a greater appeal to the flesh. Would you find this to be true of you? I suppose it could be that I’m taking my own experience and assuming everyone feels the same way…

      Strange isn’t it, how unnecessary the guards are that we put up sometimes. The friend I mentioned above is probably the friend whom I feel most loved by of all my friends. I’ve never felt that she’s out to attack me and her question was genuine and a chance to share part of my life with her.

      It sounds like Christmas is such a jovial and cherished time in your home. Joy and celebration are two things that come from God. I hope it’s a time that draws you nearer to Him each year and spills over into the rest of your life. 🙂 Merry belated Christmas and – look, it’s 2018 – happy new year, Kellyn!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For me, it’s much easier to be known than to be liked! 😛 It’s not really a conviction, though? I didn’t think, “Well, God wants me to be vulnerable, so I won’t be.” I’ve just always been painfully, cruelly honest about myself. I think I was a little spoiled as a child (okay, pretty spoiled …) and learned that people would accept anything I did because it was “cute” … so when I got older – even though I’m not spoiled anymore, haha – I still feel that people will accept me for who I am/my convictions – and even if they don’t, that’s their problem, not mine? That’s probably very selfish/narcissistic, but I think that’s what’s going on in my brain. I never really thought about the why before. There are times that I do hedge around a subject or simply avoid it, though.

        Yes, it’s really lovely! Merry Christmas to you, too! And Happy New Year! 🙂


      2. You know, I’ve come to enjoy listening to your thoughts as you explain what’s going on in your mind. You have a very unique way of doing it, and sometimes I just have to smile at how blunt you are about yourself. It’s not the style I read every day. Hopefully putting your thoughts out there can help you and me to live more yielded to the Holy Spirit.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this is a good point about vulnerability! I feel I have slipped into that too – especially as life got busier, and I got more sleep deprived, it seems easier to avoid being vulnerable sometimes. And yes, I guard myself even from people who love me; sometimes it feels harder to be vulnerable with them because we never have before, even if we’ve known each other for a long time. But I think you’re right in labeling it as deceit. It really is. Thanks for bringing it up. And also, in reply to your comment on your previous post, yes to how amazing it is to have an eternal-focused blogging experience! It’s amazing how God has used it to teach me and draw me closer to Him, and to give me fellowship with like-minded friends all over the globe. Praise Him! xx


    1. You connected not wanting to be vulnerable with sleep deprivation. My first reaction was to want to chuckle because it’s so relatable. My second reaction was to want to sigh… because it’s so relatable. Yes, I find that whenever I’m tired I just don’t care to put in the effort – and being vulnerable certainly takes effort.

      The first two verses of Psalm 127 have encouraged (and convicted!) me in that area. I hope they do the same for you. What tends to keep you from getting sleep?


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