This blog is inspired by the TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brené Brown. I’d encourage you to watch the video, but be warned it is twenty minutes long. You don’t have to watch the video for the blog to be meaningful, so I understand if you would rather not.
Brené Brown’s talk got me thinking. Why is being vulnerable such a struggle for us? At one point she said, “And I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.” How can something that is the core of all those negative things be the start of something so beautiful? Even though Brown probably wouldn’t admit this, there was something very Biblical behind her talk.
We are all fallen. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). As you read that you are probably nodding your head. But the truth is none of us like to actually admit that. None of us like to admit we sin. None of us like to admit we have faults. None of us like to confess our shortcomings. So what do we do? We bottle it up inside and act like it’s not there. We wouldn’t want someone to see our imperfections, even though we know everyone has them. It is just like Brown said, “We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability.”
Yet at the same time, we want be to happy. We want to feel whole. We want to feel loved. Brown found in her research, “You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.” I would say we don’t numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. I’d say if we numb all our sin, we can’t have them. John 15:9-11 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus says that if we abide in His love our joy will complete. 1 John 3:9 tell us, “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” There is no sin in Jesus, so our sin blocks Him from filling our joy.
I don’t think I’m giving many people a new revelation. Most of us know this, yet we are so unwilling to open up. Our society tells us that vulnerability is a weakness. We have to appear strong. We have to appear like nothing is wrong. That is a lie. When we start to open up and let someone in, it is then that the healing can begin. That is the beauty of being vulnerable. No matter how much we tell ourselves we will find happiness on our own, we never will. You may be able to put on a good show, but that is all it is.
Recently I started a group with a few guys from Charisma. For lack of a better name, we have just called our meetings “man meetings”. We basically just get together and talk about things God has shown us, things we are struggling with, and then we pray. It is sort of an accountability group, but there is more to it than that. The first time we met most of us didn’t share much. There were lots of moments of awkward silence. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how long the group would last if that was how our meetings were going to go (or at least I wouldn’t stay in it long haha). All of us were afraid to open up. As I prayed about it, I felt convicted to be real. I imagine some of the other guys have the same experience because the next time we met the conversation was non-stop, we worked through some real issues, and ran way over on time. The times we have met have become a blessing to me. I’ve learned to embrace vulnerability because I’ve learned it opens the door to healing, to peace, to joy.
We aren’t perfect and no one expects us to be. Embrace that and let the healing begin.
until next time…
Comment question: What are some steps you take to help yourself open up to others?