I’ve noticed with the passing of recent birthdays, I have become more introspective. I’m newly forty-two and more observant about the relationships in my life. I have tons of dear friends, friends that feel like family, and still . . . there is something missing.
As a child, I spent more time around adult friends of my grandparents than with kids my own age. But honestly, I spent most of my time alone. I didn’t mind. I liked spending time by myself. I played with dolls, colored, wrote stories, watched TV, and sang along to the radio. Fast forward to today and I still love alone time. But, after a couple of days, I crave connection.
I crave real connection, the kind that goes deep fast.
I know tons of people; I have for decades. But, I’ve never been the person that has this one inner circle of deep friendships. I tend to float between friend groups. Again, I don’t mind, mostly. I love how God has made me a bridge and a connector of people. But sometimes it leaves me feeling a bit untethered. All of the bouncing between circles can keep those friendships shallow or just beneath the surface. It also doesn’t allow for vulnerability.
That’s it. That’s what I’ve been missing.
I know vulnerability has been a trendy buzzword in the world. There are books written about it. There are podcasts recorded about it. It’s because we need it. We were literally created to live lives of vulnerability. Prior to sin entering the world, Adam and Eve lived in the garden, in God’s presence, naked and unashamed. That is as vulnerable as it gets. I am desperate to live that way with God and with others. But, I don’t. We don’t. At least, not as often or as much as we’d like.
Sadly, this has led to my life feeling extremely closed off and distant from those who should be my nearest and dearest. No one really knows me fully and deeply. I am not as transparent with God for fear that His unconditional love will suddenly find a condition for withdrawing it. Then, I am not as authentic with those around me for worry of losing control of their perception of me.
Why is that? What else hinders us from living truly vulnerable lives? For me, there’s a mix of reasons. The list seems long, but at the top is fear of rejection and fear of truly being misunderstood. Then there’s my favorite, not being loved. I’m sure many of you share these same fears. Even though I’ve learned to name them, it’s a constant battle to fight them.
But I don’t have to fight it completely alone. You don’t either. It is our responsibility to cast down those lies and renew our minds with God’s Word (see John 8:31-32, 44). Then, we are told to carry each others’ burdens. Those burdens can be our sins, strongholds, heavy weights, or the web of lies that we’ve been believing. Revealing and bearing those burdens is no easy feat, but it’s how we create safe spaces for vulnerability. It’s how we obey the way God designed us to live with Him and in community.
Then, we read in James 5:16 that we are to confess our sins and pray for one another. This leads to our healing. The verses before are speaking of praying for physical healing. Along with that, our mental, emotional and spiritual healing is just as important and needed.
At my church, my pastor is a huge proponent of the congregation moving in the gifts of the Spirit that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. The Holy Spirit is welcomed to move as He pleases. The altars are always open. The Body moves around freely. People are healed. People are delivered. Words of prophecy and words of knowledge are spoken. Miracles, signs and wonders are present. His goodness and mercy follow us wherever we go.
Church has become one of the most vulnerable places in my life over the past four years. It is a tender thing to watch and participate in sharing a need, asking for prayer, and allowing the Body to surround you, lay hands on you, and believe in unity for a move of God. I have tangibly tasted and seen the goodness of our God.
That is what a life of vulnerability looks like: unhindered, free, whole, and full of love.
Vulnerability is for our good and the Lord knows it. Our deep desire to know and be fully known by God and the Body of Christ is God-given! Showing up with vulnerability is how we walk as followers of Christ and how we can show love and receive love. It is how we build a rich and beautiful history of trust and intimacy with God and others.
Vulnerability comes at a cost. It will cost you your pride, fear, comfort, and expectations. But, the pay off has been one the sweetest gifts I have ever experienced.
I’d love for you to share about your struggles or wins with vulnerability!