Folding a fitted sheet. (Help me.)
Drivers who refuse to merge into traffic. (For the love, MOVE THE CAR!)
Not hitting the snooze button. (Just 10 more minutes x 3…possibly 4.)
These are some of the things with which I struggle.
And way up near the top of the list: Vulnerability. Maybe you can relate.
I’ve heard a lot about vulnerability this year. It seems to be the topic everywhere I turn, on TV and in articles and books. I honestly hadn’t thought too much about it until someone told me this year that I wasn’t vulnerable enough. They felt that I was holding back in situations where I could share more of myself…more of my heart.
It was hard to hear. It stung to be criticized, especially in an area that felt so personal. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood where they were coming from. As I looked back, it was clear that I was being far more of a listener and much less of a sharer. I’ve always been that way. In my critic’s eyes, holding back made me seem distant and uncaring, which is not how I would want to come across.
At the time, I struggled to understand why I was so hesitant to share my heart…my struggles and fears…but now I think I understand more.
Vulnerability requires risk.
I love this definition of vulnerability (Courtesy of Mr. Google.): the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
That helps explain it. I was in a setting where I feared being criticized or attacked.
Even being exposed to the possibility of attack or harm sounds terrifying to me. No, thank you. I would rather fold all of your fitted sheets.
Truth be told, most people don’t line up for the chance to get hurt or attacked, right? BUT, the truth is when we hold back and are not vulnerable, we lose out on way more than just the possibilities of getting hurt.
We lose out on the possibilities of being known.
See, in being vulnerable, we are also exposed to the possibilities of being loved. We are exposed to the possibilities of experiencing empathy and care. We are exposed to the possibility of being understood. Oh, have you ever wished someone understood you? Mercy, I have.
Are we meant to be vulnerable with absolutely everyone? Are we to flood the world with a boundary-free vulnerability? That’s a “no.” There are people who, as Brené Brown says, haven’t earned the right to hear our stories. Some people are simply not safe.
If your life is a healthy one, though, there are probably people with whom you can safely be vulnerable. Family (not all…you know who I’m talking about), trusted friends, a good counselor…these are good places to start.
But the greatest place to start…Jesus.
Scripture shows him time and time again exposing himself not only to the possibilities of pain and rejection, but also the realities of being known. As he walked those dusty, hard roads in the Bible, he was SO LOVED. Yes, he was also hated by some, but because of his vulnerability…because he opened himself up to the risks of pain and joy…he became known as the truth and the life, the One who would bring people back to God.
Jesus displayed incredible vulnerability. How brave was he?!
If you struggle with vulnerability like I do, remember this: He gets it. Jesus understands not just THE struggle, but YOUR struggle…MY struggle.
No one knows you like he does. With Jesus you are completely safe, completely known, and completely loved. You can tell him all about it, knowing he not only cares but is ready and willing to make a way for you in the good times and bad. He will take you by the hand and walk with you through all of it.
What a Savior!
Don’t get me wrong…I still think vulnerability is crazy hard. I have a lot to learn. But I’m understanding more now that vulnerability isn’t just about the possibilities of shame and criticism…it’s also about the possibilities of love and belonging.
Those are things that are worth the risk, don’t you think?