Why be vulnerable? Because we need to be connected! Connections are absolutely essential for life. If we're not connected, we die or we are dying. For obvious reasons, we need to be connected to things like food and shelter. To make a living, we need to be connected to sources of monetary income. But more importantly, since we are more than just a body, we need to be connected to people so that our insides (mind, soul, emotions) are getting what we need to be healthy. Most importantly, we need to be connected to a place where we often overlook or maybe totally ignore: our passion and identity (our spirit). If we're going to live dynamic lives of love, we seriously need to be connected to that level of being. That also happens to be the place where God wants to connect with us. Whether we believe it or not, our passion and identity are places of great creativity, change and innovation. It really behooves us to tap into that tremendous resource, especially in the areas of greatest challenge, the places where we are stuck and can't seem to find a solution. Maybe it's a goal or project at work. Perhaps it is an ongoing tension / conflict with our spouse. Or, it is with our adolescent child whom we can't figure out at all. Or maybe, we have a huge dream that will transform the world! In every one of us, there is the potential for benevolent, transcendent greatness because we are created in the image of God. But often it is not realized because something (ie. fear, shame, etc.) prevents us from going to the source of all transformation. That's where vulnerability comes in. It is the way to effectively and consistently get free from the things that get us stuck, that cause us to spiral out of control. We need to be vulnerable to restore our ruptures, renew our attitudes, and reframe our motives/ challenges to move forward in the most meaningful areas of our lives. Being vulnerable is the only way we will reconnect on a regular basis with those deep places of the heart and gut to give real attention and care to others and ourselves.
Today (+/- a week), if we're honest about what's been really going on inside us, what emotions might we find? If nothing comes up, it's probably because we're on some kind of anesthetic. To not feel the stress, pain, fear, disappointment, and despair, we've excessively worked, shopped, played, eaten, drank, or medicated ourselves to numb the bad feelings. Why be vulnerable? So we can be aware of what we've been feeling, good or bad, in order to get better connected to reality. Once aware, we have opportunity for great courage to go where we need to go to find healing and freedom! Then we are in the land of the living and being alive means we can give attention to what's going on, to enjoy, to repair, to prioritize, to change what we do and even who we are.
Will you embrace vulnerability? Take emotional risks in the midst of uncertainty, and exposure. It will fuel our daily lives with real strength, security, and significance as we get deeply, meaningfully connected to God and others. Vulnerability is the greatest expression of courage and love. No wonder it is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, change. In its absence, we become vain and desperate as our efforts to find satisfaction and happiness become futile.
Why be vulnerable? It gets us to talk about shame, to get it into the open and take away its hold on us. When we courageously expose what we are ashamed of (to people we trust), we can know what's really stopping us from being who we really are to pursue what we were made for. According to Dr. Brene Brown, we have to walk through the swamplands of our souls. It's the scary, dirty, messy place where we may feel we are a mistake, that we're never going to be good enough, or perhaps we'll hear accusations of "Who do you think you are?" All that tries to make us feel small and weak, driving us to hide the shameful person we believe ourselves to be.
If we could confront these accusations with courage, compassion, and connection, we could live whole hearted lives to experience ingenious creativity, dynamic innovation, and healing change for ourselves and those we live with. The important things become truly important and we are free to give them their due attention and care.
If we don't get vulnerable, we are on the road to becoming a person who lacks the ability to connect and empathize. The destination of that road is being a sociopath, a person with no capacity to care for another human being. He / she will destroy self and others without remorse. Why would we even want to be near that road (which leads to hell)? That is a downward spiral leading to hopelessness and utter confusion and chaos. We need to be vulnerable because it is the upward path of belief and love. It is the way to desiring and receiving the ultimate freedom for which Christ died and rose.
The precious people we touch with our lives are in dire need for us to be courageous, compassionate, and connecting. They may or may not be aware of this incredible need but it's there. God made all of us with desire for closeness and warmth, not distance and cold isolation. He also gave us the mysterious gift of pain to drive us to each other. Vulnerability enables us to properly use these 2 gifts to meet our loved ones needs. He has both demonstrated and commanded this in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why should we be vulnerable? Lastly, because it opens us up to God's grace which frees and empowers us to be wise peacemakers, like Him. What does the Gospel of grace tell us but to believe we are infinitely loved by God who did everything to reconcile us to Himself, justifying our worth on the sole basis of Jesus' death and resurrection, a two fold act where He vulnerably embraced our shame, embodying our sicknesses and mortality, only to overcome it all by being raised from the dead. Through faith in the Peacemaker and His peace making act, we become children of God. We are reborn from a belief focused on the vulnerable God-Man, the Prince of Peace. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Following Christ's footsteps, we are most like our Father in heaven when we courageously make peace by taking the risks to boldly go where pride tries to prohibit, where lust tries to lead us away from, and where fear attempts to force us to deny. It is exactly where Jesus went as He healed the blind, lame, and diseased. It is exactly where Jesus went emotionally while on the cross. It is where He desires to minister to us today by the power of the Holy Spirit. Be vulnerable and get connected!