At first, the idea of being vulnerable seems negative. You might even picture helpless and defenseless, like a bug wiggling on its back. Its legs finding only air.
Last year my writer’s group discussed vulnerability as the only way to be authentic in writing. Everyone says they want to read authentic writing, and see authentic posts…but what we want is more than a picture without makeup or someone telling a secret.
One of my critique partners recommended The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown because she said if you protected yourself–then you could neither let truth out, or love in.
Pretty bold statement, so I rented it from my library and listened to it. Then I did it again. It gave me the courage to finish my project after not writing for so long.
I think there’s truth to what my friend said, but it’s so hard in a shame culture to show the real you. A year later, I’m still thinking about how much we protect ourselves from things like unreturned love, shame and rejection in any form–even from family.
Since learning who God “really” is seems to be a theme for me right now, I’ve been thinking how vulnerable Jesus was when he walked the earth. He probably seemed weak to many of his generation. They didn’t want a sacrificial lamb, they wanted a king to lead a rebellion. I think he rarely, if ever, met people’s expectations or received acceptance.
Imagine what his life would have been like with people always looking down on him. Surely no one ever forgot that the dates didn’t match up from his parent’s marriage to his birth. Shame. He was counter culture in every way, but it wasn’t cool like it is now. Even his mother and brothers came to get him to stop him from speaking. Shame. He lived his entire life never receiving validation from a friend, coworker or family member. Even his closest friends were confounded by him. Shame.
I don’t believe he took on shame, he knew how to find all his worth from God. However, he went to the cross more naked than we can understand because at that point even God turned away. Rejection. He did it all with the risk that his love would be the painful unrequited kind.
And it usually is. Unrequited.
I have never known anyone that vulnerable. Maybe because, when you think about it, it requires a profound amount of strength to be truly vulnerable.
As modern day Christians, we are more like the zealots of Jesus’ time. We still want to represent a conquering hero. We don’t want shame, or rejection.
We want to convince people with the power of our arguments and the might of our convictions. We demand agreement and validation, even though Christ said the new law was to love.
He will come back in fearful, righteous power, as a lion brandishing a sword. But I’d like to suggest that we are not in the era of conquering yet.
What do you think?