"...For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God..."
~ 2 Corinthians 13:4
You know how important it is to break out of your comfort zone, say yes more often, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. But what if that vulnerability makes you so anxious you find it hard to function? The key is learning to embrace vulnerability without allowing it to take over.
Think about your deepest relationship — whether it's your spouse, a good friend, your parents, or a sibling. Chances are, you've shared some vulnerable moments with this person. When Lisa and I started dating, we both thought that the other could do no wrong... until we started getting closer and we, like most couples, inevitably had our first fight. It was not pretty, but it strengthened our relationship. I learned more about how she functions, she learned what makes me tick, and that empathy made us closer and more comfortable with each other. We went from being boyfriend and girlfriend, to being an engaged-to-be-married couple. The bond that we share together is now unbreakable. She is my confidant, best friend and lover all in one. Granted, you don't need conflict to get closer, but it forces you to open up about how you feel and be honest, to be vulnerable. Either way, vulnerability isn't just part of a meaningful relationship, it's crucial.
Jesus wants us all to be vulnerable. When we allow that vulnerability before Him, He meets us right there in our place of deepest emptiness. He gives us His strength in place of our weakness. He gives us His love in place of our selfishness. He gives us His joy in place of our despair. He gives us His hope in place of our hopelessness. It's God's nature to give, because He is love. And so that's why being vulnerable feels like the worst thing but is really the best.
We discover our complete reliance on God. And since God is love, we begin to rely on the best thing we could ask for or imagine. When our hearts break, we find God's love right there to mend us. Broken hearts hurt. But that very brokenness that we hate and dread, brings us to a place of such vulnerability that our hearts finally melt with compassion and love when we encounter other people. We stop seeing people as competition to be feared, and instead see them as fellow servants of the Living God, who are just as needy, thirsty, hungry and afraid as we are. We can embrace others in love, not needing anything from them, because our hearts are overflowing – our cups runneth over – with the love of God, a love that we find only when everything else in the world fails us. This is abundant living. And it's the only way to find joy. When circumstances and other people hurt us, and we start to live dependent and vulnerable to God out of our brokenness, we discover that our whole houses become filled with the most expensive fragrance of all – the sweet-smelling savor of God's love.
And when we feel like we can't do it, and we don't want to be vulnerable, and we're too afraid to trust God – we can remind ourselves that God became completely vulnerable to us. He died naked, abandoned, and alone on the cross. Even God turned His back on Jesus on the cross, so that Jesus could experience hell for us. If God didn't scorn the shame of the cross, who are we to be ashamed of anything? Just as the cross is ugly, and yet God transformed it into the most beautiful thing, so our shame, rejection and vulnerability seem ugly to us. Yet, if we bring them to the foot of the cross, God can transform our weakest, ugliest, most shameful places into sources of transcendent beauty.
Father, being vulnerable is not easy for me to do, so I pray for courage. Help me to be able to be open. I pray that others would also strive to be open and vulnerable, Lord. Please anoint me with the words to say and remove any fear that would hinder me from from being vulnerable.
In Jesus' name I pray,
Be encouraged and stay strong; be blessed and be a blessing to others.
Peace, Love & Joy
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