It's 2017 and everyone has foregone the new year resolutions and instead opted for a "word of the year." I am ecstatic. I always feel like a failure two months in, when I haven't lost 10 pounds, or realize I cannot afford to travel to New Zealand, or my recent artwork wasn't published in xyz magazine. Choosing a word to encompass your goals doesn't seem nearly as set up for failure and I am all for it. As it turns out, choosing one word is more daunting than choosing your typical "goal." I want this word to inspire me, to stretch me, to bring me closer to God and those around me. Then comes a word that feels like being punched in the stomach. Vulnerable. I am not vulnerable. Assumingly just like you, I don't like being vulnerable. I like being strong, capable, savvy, pushing my bubbling emotions back down like a pro. But I knew the word was important. It was given to me, rather loudly. I thought of all the reasons the word was a bad idea; my past, my heartaches, my career. Over the next week, I begin getting little, nagging signs. The first is seeing the word beautifully, unexpectedly, written in calligraphy on my Instagram feed. The second is joining a Facebook group, which ends up being a wonderful platform to push entrepreneurs to tell their story. (Terrifying.) The third is stumbling on Brene' Brown's TEDtalk, "The Power of Vulnerability." I give up. If I don't open myself up to being vulnerable, my art and creative process will become stagnant. If I'm not vulnerable, how will I love deeply and receive love willingly? How will I praise the Lord with all my soul? How can I expect my paintings to move and inspire others? I came to the conclusion that I cannot. You cannot. We cannot do anything to the fullest without being vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to be our truest selves, in all its terrifying and beautiful ways.