Vulnerability + Desire = Passionate Love


My church is currently (January - March 2014) going through the Song of Solomon, a pretty obscure and unfamiliar book to a lot of people, even church folk. But it is a great revelation of God's desire for marriages and a beautiful poem of passionate love. The expressions of the lovers requires some homework (pretty easy with the internet) to understand and appreciate but the studious effort is rewarded with insight into what makes for healthy marriages.

So reflecting on this sacred writing got me to think about my marriage. I’ve been married to May, for over 2 decades. I am totally in love with her, really crazy about her but how do I express it? These are the eloquent things that flow from my lips:

"Hey Honey, how was your day?" and of course, "What's for dinner?”

I do say, "I love you" every morning when I'm off to work and at night before going to sleep. But it all pales pretty pathetically compared to the things that Solomon says to his wife in Song of Songs.

As I read this book, I am overwhelmed by the many expressions of deep desire,  passionate obsession, joyous delight, and even profound longing. How in love are these lovers!. And it is a love relationship which inspires those around them.

So many references to awesome fragrances and delectable food to describe the enjoyment of the lovers for each other. Pomegranates are mentioned quite a bit; I found that Hebrew writers often used this fruit as a symbol for harmony and peace where 2 people are living in authentic oneness or concord, (total opposite of discord). This kind of peace is definitely the foundation for a healthy life of love and sex. But how do we experience this?

By being vulnerable. And God gives us frequent opportunities to do so. If it's been awhile since we've let our guard down, we may miss the more subtle ones but don't worry, the bigger, louder, attention getting opps never fail to surface, even if we've ignored them with previous success.

But why do we deprioritize this value that is so clearly embodied by Jesus, especially when He went to the cross?

Because it scares us to death. And if we’ve experienced a lot of hurt, combined with insecurity, we’ve probably worked hard, really hard, to protect ourselves. Nevertheless, if we’re going to be real in life, love, and family, we must surrender to Christ’s call to deny ourselves, pick up the cross, and follow Him even into something so terrifying as vulnerability.

Following Jesus is a journey into vulnerability. When we are vulnerable, we open ourselves to good and bad. We open ourselves to pain and pleasure. But most importantly, we open ourselves to God. James 4:6 says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Christ-like humility is being vulnerable. God's grace can only be received when our guard is down and we are open to God's good work in us. And when we receive His unconditional love and grace, we will also be able to give it. This is the beginning of true intimacy. We can’t give what we don’t have. Jesus said in Matthew 6, we don’t have because we don’t ask. We don’t ask because we try to be invulnerable. Invulnerable people don’t ask for mercy and grace on an ongoing basis. But this is exactly what we need to grow unconditional love in our most intimate relationships, most especially, our marriages.

By having this grace-based unconditional love, God makes us open to dealing honestly with the tensions that regularly come up. This also requires us to be brave and aware of our feelings enough to share openly about them. Of course, this too is God’s good work in us. This is what God meant and intended for us in Genesis 2 about being naked and unashamed. This is the essence of a real marriage and it is how I am defining healthy vulnerability. When we aren't being naked and unashamed, can we be intimate and loving with our spouse? Big time NO! When we aren’t being vulnerable, can we even be faithful reflections (image) of God, ruling / leading according to His will? Definitely NOT.

Maybe the biggest reason we need to be vulnerable (to God and spouse) is so we can be filled with His desire - to love and be loved / to know and be known. Deep loving desire for our spouses, as well as deep, intimate knowledge of them which gets reciprocated only comes from God. Apart from God, we all naturally fill our desires / hearts with non-God things, ie. idols. How do we get pure, genuine desire for Him and others? By being vulnerable. Remember, grace is given to the humble. Grace is God’s favor. God favors intimacy and vulnerability. He favors them because they grow the kind of love that He originally wanted people to have in their marriages.

If we’re going to grow our expressions of loving beauty and intimacy, we need to single out one desire and that desire needs to be the same as God’s. Vulnerability is the way. By God’s grace, we must faithfully choose to open our hearts to Him and our spouse. Our marriages depend on it. Our children need it. We need it. “Love your neighbors as you love yourself.” Being vulnerable and being filled with desire for love are some of the most important ways we love ourselves and each other.

Most of us find our professions relatively easy when compared to the work required for personal relational growth. Coaching can be a great resource to help you move forward and discover greater balance between the work place and home. Message me to try it out!

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Why Be Vulnerable? Part 3


Why do we need to be vulnerable? Because we need to be free!

Stop and think about what controls you, hangups and habits that consume your time and money, while alienating you from others, God, and even yourself. Need some help? Here's a bunch:



Finger drumming

Ice cream






Images of God

Pimple squeezing






Pistachio nuts








Being good





Soft drinks

Being helpful






Being loved






Being nice



Meeting expectations

Potato chips

Stock market

Being taken care of




















Hair twisting










Chewing gum



Nail biting













Scab picking











Need more? Maybe you've got ones that you deathly try to avoid:





People who are addicted

Slimy creatures





People who are competent






People who are fat / thin





Open spaces

People who are ignorant


Being abnormal

Closed-in spaces

Evil spirits


People who are neat / messy


Being alone



People of different beliefs

People who are rich / poor


Being discounted



People of different class

Public speaking


Being fat



People of different culture



Being judged



People of different politics



Being overwhelmed


High places

People of different race



Being thin



People of different religion



Being tricked



People of different sex

Sharp instruments




If any of these inhibit human freedom (yours or others), they are stopping you from loving in the way that God commands, not suggests but COMMANDS. Why do we need to get vulnerable? To be free from these addictions and be able to give real attention to truly important things, like the things that are killing our marriages, our kids, our communities, and even our nation. There is so much time and money wasted on things that rob us of real life, love, and family.  Worst of all, addictions are directly related to depression. And when we're depressed, we aren't able to connect - the very thing for which we're hard wired for. What would life be like if people were free from those deleterious attachments which stops them from daring to love greatly for the betterment of mankind?

Where will liberation come from? Those who follow in the steps of Jesus Christ, those who humbly deny themselves, courageously take up vulnerability (the cross), and follow Jesus to empathetically redeem those lost in shame and despair, ie. addictions. By the cross, Jesus said to the despicable, "I get you and I love you. With Me, in Me, and through Me, you can be healed and strengthened to be all that My Father desires!" We need to be vulnerable to Jesus and the Father's will for us. Through embracing / owning our shame and despair with Christ, we get on the road to restoration and renewal. And even greater and more complete is our freedom and healing when we help others do the same.

Perfect love is God's destination for mankind. This life is a journey of choices which either free us towards that place or keeps us enslaved to imperfect love, which ultimately is not love at all but selfishness and evil. When we fail to be vulnerable, we are choosing to be slaves. When we courageously choose vulnerability, we are daring to fight for freedom which is actually a big part of being free.

Why do we need to be vulnerable? So we can deal with the stuff that God has shined the light on (check out the lists again) - the nongod things that control us and stop us from the freedom to love as He loves.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  Galatians 5:1

That's great reason to be vulnerable and it also happens to be what empowers great coaching to happen!

Why be vulnerable? ...continued

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!

Why be vulnerable?

Today, a friend (thanks brother J) sent me a video link to Brene Brown talking about the power of vulnerability. Right here if you're interested: Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability What a great way to start my Friday! Here's some thoughts I took away.

Vulnerability is divinely powerful; like raise-the-dead powerful.

It may not be of interest to everyone, but those who desire to live wholeheartedly will resonate deeply with this. If we want to be true to who we are, we must be fiercely vulnerable. For to be vulnerable is to be truly alive. What will it take to be vulnerable?  Brene shared 3 C's - courage, compassion, and connection. I love how she unpacked them:

Courage: Telling your true life story with your whole heart; having the courage to be imperfect.

Compassion: Having compassion for yourself; treating yourself kindly in light of your imperfections / mistakes / failures, ie. things that cause you shame.

Connection -  from wanting to be authentic, letting go of who you should be in order to be who you are.

My addition to her thoughts about connection is who we are is infinitely greater than who we think we should be. This is Jesus' call to discipleship. "If anyone comes after Me, let him deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me." Denying self is letting go of who you think you should be. Picking up the cross is embracing vulnerability. Following Him is becoming who God made you to be, the real you. Think about that. Today, there is someone hidden by your lack of vulnerability. But when you become vulnerable, that someone is brought to life and you discover that is who you really are, and it's not who you think you should be. You are actually so much more than your limited ideas of yourself!

Fully embrace vulnerability; what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful and Christlike. Willingness to say I love you first. Do something where there are no guarantees. Invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. Wow, that is so real. Thanks Brene for helping me see.

"Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and struggle for worthiness;  but also the birthplace of joy, love, and creativity." Brene, you are genius!

Brene went on to share that as she learned this, she had a breakdown which actually was a spiritual awakening. Funny, this just happens to match what Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount when He listed 8 attitudes for God's ultimate blessing. The first 3 identify the need to realize one's true spiritual condition, mourn and grieve it, then surrender to what God has shown you to be true about yourself and Him. Doesn't that sound like a breakdown, lol? It's amazing how this happened to a highly educated, intelligent, and extremely humorous 'research story teller', (that's how Brene wanted to professionally identify herself).

We can try to fight this universal power of vulnerability, but in the end, we will lose, like 6 feet-under kind of lose. Some of us fight by trying to numb vulnerability by getting into debt, becoming obese, or falling to addictions. But all that ends up happening is we become disconnected from reality. Others of us try to make uncertainty certain; we're driven to control and organize to get rid of the discomfort of chaos. And many of us blame as a way to discharge pain and discomfort. But in this fight, if we can lose to vulnerability while we are still breathing, we will win our lives back from denial, numbing lifestyles, pretension, hypocrisy!

So how do we lose to vulnerability? Just believe.

Each and every day, vulnerability is inviting us to believe the truth that 'You are worthy of love and belonging.' Vulnerability sure sounds like Jesus, the God and Savior which the Bible talks about.

Today, let yourself be seen, deeply seen. Love with your whole heart. Practice gratitude and joy.

Believe you are enough, even for God to sacrifice His only true Son for your forgiveness.

What does this have to do with coaching? It's the very thing that empowers the relationship to achieve your greatest, most meaningful goals. Any goal. The greatest life is lived when we are fiercely true to who we are. When our thinking is aligned with our passions and true identity, we will greatly inspire and impact this world with courage, compassion, and connection!