“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis
This famous quote from Lewis perfectly encapsulated my experience at Ekko Orthopraxis 2014. The story began when I joined Ekko just in time to sign up for Orthopraxis. Having recently moved across the globe to the area, I had a difficult time settling down in Southern California. I felt stifled in my new environment, as if a heavy wet blanket was putting out the fire that was burning at the core of my heart. At the place where there was once peace and joy, anxiety and unsettledness took over.
It was at that place where I learned that the ability to open up to others was a gift, not a choice. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, I was able to share my heart with my group members the first time we met as a group, even though I didn’t even want to be there. Looking back, I am so grateful for the experience, as it opened me up to a group of warm-hearted people who were empathetic, caring, and willing to listen.
Brene Brown, in her TED talk on vulnerability, defined courage as the ability to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Orthopraxis provided me with a safe space where I could share my heart with a handful of trustworthy people. Through tangible actions of love from my sisters in the group, I understood experientially that I was loved regardless of my value, my productivity, and how “good” I am; this is the type of love that God has for us. I have always struggled with understanding that not merely as head knowledge, but as a heart-felt belief. Because of my experience in Orthopraxis, today I am happy to say that I understand the mystery of His love just a little better.
Annette is currently enrolled in the clinical psychology Ph.D. program at the Rosemead School of Psychology in Biola University, and it is her hope to help bridge the gap between psychological research and the church's view on wholeness and healing. She enjoys cooking, baking and playing ultimate frisbee. She attends Buena Park Ekklesia.