We played a game called “Things.” Our version that night was vulnerability served on a plate, handed and handled by everyone. The game was meant to be fun and silly at points, but it revealed so much. Conversation turned from lighthearted to heavy by the end of the game. We all discovered how little or how much we really knew about each other.
My regret settled in when I blurted out my heart by carelessly spitting out words about my history that I'd never shared before. Immediately after, I fumbled out a few words about how worthless I felt that the process of vulnerability was because I felt that no one knows what to do with information that can’t be easily handled I clasped my hands together with embarrassment and looked down, refusing to meet anyone's eyes. As soon as my feet stepped out of the rickety storm door, I felt my heart rush. My breath caught in my throat. The warmth in my cheeks was a mix between shame, my slight intoxication and the biting wisp of wind that caught my face.
I felt guilty because I wanted to be vulnerable, but not like this.
That night I learned that vulnerability is not about how painful the stuff is you put on the table for people see. Vulnerability is not about letting people you don't trust see all of the weaker parts of who you are. It's not about the thrill of being raw. Vulnerability doesn't have to look like standing alone, naked in the cold.
There may be people who appreciate your honesty in that state of nakedness, who may offer to cover you in grace and in love. You reached out for love, and that is so great, but to what end? What drove you to that state of nakedness? Was it fear? Was it pain? Was it the desire to be seen and known?
For me, it was fear. I was afraid that my friends didn't care for me because they didn't know me. The truth is that they cared for me despite the fact that they didn't know all those things about my history. And here's the best part, my little moment of "vulnerability" didn't change their opinions about me in any way.
So, now what's the big deal about vulnerability?
Vulnerability is about the freedom to rise out of shame and the empowerment to allow yourself to be hidden in the healing sufficiency of Christ. Yep, that's right, Christ who was exalted, naked and wounded beyond human recognition. By rising from the dead, he conquered the pain that his vulnerability cost him. He was the most vulnerable for us so that we could stand transformed, transparent, unashamed, and undefined by the past. This verse in Second Corinthians demonstrates this concept:
Friends, we stand in the light with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord. The next time you find yourself being vulnerable and sharing a painful part of life with a friend or someone you just met, check yourself. Where is your vulnerability coming from? Is it fear or shame? Or, is it from the freedom that you've been given through Christ to not be defined by the past you've been transformed from?
More posts on vulnerability to come.