Facing this enemy takes courage
“Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.” Brené Brown
I have a confession to make; I abhor the movie, The Wizard of Oz. I know it is a classic millions of people have loved and cherished but not me. While watching it as a young child, I was afraid from start to finish. Of what, you ask? Here’s an abbreviated list: The movie terrified me when:
Margaret Hamilton took Toto and placed him in the basket of her bicycle.
The tornado hit the house.
The Wicked Witch of the West appeared.
The flying monkeys appeared (this was the worst one).
The hourglass is running out of time and Dorothy is beseeching Auntie Em for help.
The Wizard is introduced.
Many would laugh at my admission but I am not at the point where I can laugh at this specific fear from my childhood but it’s not for the obvious reason.
It’s because fear is the greatest foe I have battled from my earliest recollection. You name it, I have been afraid of it but, as an adult, one of my biggest fears lies in being vulnerable.
What is vulnerability?
Vulnerability is a subject many people are at the least uncomfortable with or, like me, afraid of it. What is this thing wielding such power?
If it were as simple as a fictional witch or a scampering mouse, we could deal with it, but vulnerability is a formidable entity. Why?
The word, vulnerable is equivalent to the Latin word, vulnerā(re ) to wound + -bilis to see. (Dictionary.com). If we put these two elements together, it means to see a wound.
When someone is vulnerable, they are allowing others to see a wound within themselves, and this can be terrifying.
Three reasons people avoid vulnerability
When we open up to others and they see our wounds, we are taking a risk and the more critical the wound is we are sharing, the potential of further damage is higher.
1. People wouldn’t like me if they knew these weaknesses.
We spend so much time trying to hide our inadequacies from others because we think if they know about them, they won’t like us or they’ll reject us. This may be true with some people, and if it is, you’re better off without them in your life.
The truth: It often is the weaknesses we have that makes us approachable by others in life. No one wants to be around a “Miss or Mr. Perfect.”
Life doesn’t work that way so why spend so much time and effort trying to make others think everything with you is flawless?
2. People might take advantage of me if they knew.
I have read in multiple sources if you have had a huge life-change, do not make critical decisions within the first year.
For example, if your spouse dies, it’s good to put some time between the death and major decisions. Why? One reason is that there are people out there who will prey upon vulnerable people.
The truth: Yes, there are some people who may try to take advantage of you if they know your vulnerabilities but there are also many other people who could benefit from your difficult experiences and relate to you because of it. Being vulnerable can heal both for you and those with whom you share.
3. My vulnerability would disgust people and they would reject me.
There were so many times growing up, I thought it would be fabulous to read minds. I smile when I think of how I would have used this against my brothers, to get an advantage over them I rarely had.
As an adult, I know this would be a horrible ability and I’m so glad people cannot know what I am thinking because it might disgust them.
With vulnerability, it’s easy to think others would see me as weak and turn away from me in disgust when they see me, wounds and all. This would only bring more pain to an established wound.
The truth: There are some people who would find our vulnerabilities disgusting but they’re usually the ones who do not struggle in that area.
In being vulnerable, it gives you the opportunity to make connections with others who share similar wounds. Many people can spot phonies right away. Vulnerability makes you appear down-to-earth, just like everyone else is.
God encourages vulnerability
Being vulnerable in your everyday life can be beneficial to many but have you ever considered that God encourages vulnerability? Why?
In my weaknesses, I know I must depend on God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
In acknowledging our vulnerabilities, it becomes clear we didn’t “soldier through a crisis,” but that God gave us the strength to do it.
There have been times when I would have crumbled and fallen, had God not given me the strength I need to keep going.
In my weaknesses, others can see the power of God.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV) says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
When others know our vulnerabilities and yet see us
come through our difficulties because of the power God has given us, they will know it is not because we have done anything special. It is God’s power and strength that he gives us.
As Christians, God commands us to help others through and in their vulnerabilities.
Galatians 6: 2 (ESV) says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
As Christians, we are commanded to help others, not because we think we’re something special and are better than others but because we, ourselves, have received help ourselves. It is in this role of servitude that others can know we are Christians.
John 13:35 (NIV) says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Part of this love is being open and honest with others about our difficulties. Being vulnerable, though often scary, has many benefits.
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