Vulnerability: A sign of weakness or strength?

vul·ner·a·ble  1. susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.  adjective  2.open to moral attack, criticism


             I recently read in someone’s blog that the idea of Christians being “vulnerable” isn’t really Biblical (ex: Jesus rather says to be bold and unafraid) and that it seems like a feminine term.  I’m afraid my initial thoughts were a little extreme, because I think this couldn’t be farther from the truth!  However,  the more I thought about it became clear that this gentleman and I are on entirely different pages. (or so it seems)  But this post inspired me to write about vulnerability.  This may seem like a bland topic, but I love it!
              First, I’m going to make a statement.  Relationships require vulnerability.  What I mean by vulnerability is a level of honesty and transparency.  I say “a level,” because of course there are healthy amounts of vulnerability within different types of relationships, but that is not what this blog is about.  Anyways…
             1.  Why does being honest and transparent make me vulnerable?  Because when someone discovers the hidden parts of me, the ugly parts, the mess inside, they may criticize, reject, or even leave me.  I am vulnerable.  I am susceptible to hurt.
              2.  How does this vulnerability NOT mean weakness?  Well, in a worldly sense it might.  But I sure think it takes strength to be willing to RISK for the sake of depth and intimacy in my relationships.  If I’m willing to risk being criticized, rejected, or even abandoned…Wow what faith and strength that would require.
             3.  Going one step further.  If I am rejected or abandoned, this should and will HURT.  This IS weak according to some, but according to Jesus, it is in these weak places that HIS strength can grab hold of me.  You see, when I’m criticized, hurt, and abandoned by someone, despite the hurt, I can cling to the TRUTH that Jesus knows me.  He knows me better than the person who chose to leave me.  He knows me better than I do.  Everyone can leave me, but He will stay.  He will love.  He will accept.  He will heal.  He will forgive.
             But think about this with me:  I want my friends to be like the hands, feet, and mouthpiece of Jesus in my life.  They cannot be this if I do not first risk becoming vulnerable.  If they love the masked me, the hidden me, the “made-up” me, I will never experience their love.
             You know what?.. I don’t even think I’ve ever truly been criticized, rejected, OR abandoned for being honest and real with someone.  NO, do you know what happens?  Something INCREDIBLE!!  Another person is given the FREEDOM and STRENGTH to shed their mask, as well.  And oh what sweet relationship this leads to.  One where not only can we love, accept, and forgive one another, but one where Christ can touch us in our deepest places.  One where we can actually experience his love.
             AFTER THOUGHT:  The more I think about this, the more I think I was missing something.  You know I think it really does take wisdom to know who God would call you to be vulnerable with and who he wouldn’t. I realized that just because a person doesn’t share something doesn’t mean they are necessarily being “fake”.  I do think that God can give us intuition or warnings against people whom we SHOULDN’T be too vulnerable with. He DOES want to protect our hearts.  However, that doesn’t mean we be fake. I think that’s the kicker. He still wants the masked us to go, but I honestly think our entire walk with him is a process of chipping away what’s not reality so that we can live into who he intended us to be without sin. Ultimately, this will make us more like Jesus, but with our unique personalities.   I’m wondering if anyone has more thoughts on this?  
             This post went in a different direction than I expected.  I apologize because it’s a bit all over the place.  This is what I would want you to know:
             JESUS DOES NOT LOVE THE MASKED VERSION OF YOURSELF.  HE CANNOT.  IT’S NOT A TRUE PERSON.  NO, HE IS MADLY IN LOVE WITH THE RAW, BROKEN, PASSION-FILLED, VULNERABLE PERSON DEEP INSIDE.
If you aren’t even sure who that person is, ask God to show you, to begin to tear down the masks and self-protective walls.  Becoming vulnerable with JESUS is most important.  Then I trust he’ll show you and guide you as to how “deep” to be within your friendships.
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8 thoughts on “Vulnerability: A sign of weakness or strength?”

  1. You always find the coolest pictures. You present a very good argument. This is something I have a hard time with myself. I don’t make myself vulnerable to very many people. I have no desire to. Good or bad, I feel indifferent about it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hmm…Just because you’re not very vulnerable doesn’t mean you are fake. Right? I mean (to some degree) I think we all are, because we don’t entirely know our true selves. But I don’t think people who love you are necessarily loving a “fake” you, just because you’re not very vulnerable. Does that make sense. However, I do think the level of vulnerability affects the level of depths in relationships. you’ve got me thinking…

    1. I may have been a bit extreme. Because, I do NOT think that it’s good to be really vulnerable with ANYBODY and EVERYBODY. I mean, I tend to be very open with people, even people I don’t know well. I think this is part of how I was made, although I’m sure I can do so in unhealthy ways, too. Paul, however, (if I dare speak of him) is not very likely to open up as much until he’s known someone for a while and believes they can be trusted. He maybe wouldn’t say it that way, I could be wrong, but I think that’s how he was made, too….

  3. In fact, maybe it really does take wisdom to know who God would call you to be vulnerable with and who he wouldn’t. You know. I might add a paragraph to this…haha. Because, I do think that he can give us intuition or warnings against people whom we SHOULDN’T be too vulnerable with. However, that doesn’t mean we be fake. I think that’s the kicker. He still wants the masked us to go, and I honestly thing our entire walk with him is a process of chipping away what’s not reality so that we can live into who he intended us to be without sin. Ultimately, this will make us more like Jesus, but with our unique personalities. ?

  4. :). I think your right. Being like Jesus, or anyone, doesn’t mean you are a clone. Probably the best example is how people are so like their parents. They reflect this mannerisms, some looks, attitude, perspective on life, how they treat others, but we all still have our own abilities, talents and interests. Remember, we are the Body of Messiah. When you pick up a pencil to write, you write. If you picked up a pencil with your other hand, you could still right but it wouldn’t be as pretty. Yet every cell in our body has the same DNA instilled in it yet different traits are dominant and serve a different function. The various parts of our body work together to complement each other just like various people in the Body are supposed work together. Reality is good :).

  5. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. You have some deep thoughts and interesting insights. I can relate to these thoughts on vulnerabilities. When I was younger I opened myself up to everyone and anyone and often found myself exhausted emotionally. Like a mask, I felt this bubbly outgoing person was who I was supposed to be, so I tried to be everything to everyone. But on the inside I felt very tormented and out of touch with my own emotional hurts and needs. As I have come to know myself better, I have realized that I am a very sensitive person and I have to protect myself because I am easily wounded. But there are a few people in my life I can be totally vulnerable with. My best friend Missy and my Godfather who adopted me as his daughter. They are two people who know the real me and I can open up completely to them. the best way I can describe it with these people is that we can look into each others eyes and know what the other is thinking. There is an intuitive understanding between us. I love these relationships. God tells us to guard our hearts, not to cast our pearls before swine. And for those of us that are more sensitive I feel it is important to our mental and spiritual health to protect ourselves from influences that would harm us because we are inherently vulnerable. God made each of us unique and we should love and respect ourselves and others for what we are and not be sad because we are not something else. I have found that genuine people inspire me to be genuine with them. I have an aversion to opening up to people who are out of touch with themselves because my experience has taught me that they will judge me harshly for things which I am not. Sorry if my grammar is bad! I’m writing this on my phone. But greats thoughts Katy!

    1. We definitely have a lot in common, Josie. Thanks so much for reading and responding…that means a lot. I think you might be a ways ahead of me on this journey (not that it matters). I just realized in reading what you said that I may need to embrace the fact that I’m a very sensitive person as well. However, I also know that doesn’t have to make us weak, just because we are sensitive. I’d have to think about that more.
      I’m so glad you have those people that know you so well and that you can be completely real with. I struggle with this, because I’ve let myself become so close with so many people that it’s still overwhelming and difficult to know how to find balance.
      Anyway, I’m too tired to respond more right now, but really can relate to what you’ve said and appreciate the honesty!

  6. Reblogged this on One in Seven Billion and commented:

    I haven’t been blogging much this week as I’ve been spending any extra minutes working on a grad school application. (and I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of it) So I hope you’re week was great. Did you read anything cool you’d like to share? Here’s to the weekend!

    Cheers, Katy

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