Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thoughts on Vulnerability

Our world cries for transparency and vulnerability. It sounds so good-in theory.

To be vulnerable and transparent in our world is often to admit that you use paper plates instead of china. You can't do it all but you still do a ton. It may be admitting that you yell at your kids or that your marriage is not perfect. But, it's not often getting down into the nitty gritty.

To be vulnerable is to let down your defensive armor and to make yourself open for attack. Thus, the vulnerability. It is to be susceptible to harm or hurt. 

In battle terminology, it is laying out your defenses-where you are strong, and then showing the weak spots. The place where if attacked, you may crumble.

Vulnerability is to forgive and then not to be pro-defensive in relationships because you might get hurt again. Vulnerability is to let down your guard, and think the best of people-even when experience tells you that you shouldn't. Vulnerability is not reading into actions and assigning motives based on past hurts and offenses.

Vulnerability is saying this is where I am weak. This is where my heart beats strongest. This is where I hurt. This is where I need help. This is my ugliness. This is where I sin. This is where I need forgiveness.

I've found most people react in one of three ways when you let your vulnerable hang out and are really transparent.

There is the group of people who exploit and rejoice at your vulnerabilities. They "ah-ha!" and use vulnerabilities against you. They attack you at your vulnerable points. Discretion and wisdom dictate that you really shouldn't share much with this group. Distancing ourselves from these people is generally a prudent thing. In battle, you don't point out your weak points with your enemies. It's not a matter of pride but of protection.

There is the group who are neither here nor there about your vulnerabilities because of their own vulnerabilities. This is actually most people in our lives. They don't care that you are wearing your heart on your sleeve or that you are floundering. They don't not care either. They probably aren't going to attack at the vulnerable spots, but neither will they do anything to help shore up the vulnerable spots. 

And then there is the group who sees your vulnerability in all its ugliness and sin and neediness and loves you anyway. They encourage, and pray, and challenge, and even rebuke. They forgive and they help. This group is generally just a handful of people for each of us, but they are the salt of the earth.

I've had about three endings typed for this post. And I've deleted them all. One felt too vulnerable for this platform. One felt too abrupt. One involved too many other people and thus their stories.

I tell you this because I don't have all the answers. But, I do have many vulnerable spots.

I am still processing my groups. And I am appreciating my handful.