5 Powerful Lessons I Have Learned from Being Vulnerable
The first time I made the decision to be completely transparent with a group of women. I had a lot going on in my personal life and longed for some dear friends to support and encourage me, and to keep pointing me to Jesus. Yet, inviting these particular friends into that sacred space meant that I would also have to bare my struggles, my short comings, and my heart.
The first time I made the decision to be completely transparent with a group of women, we had only known each other for a while, but hadn’t moved past that acquaintance level of friendship.
I had a lot going on in my personal life and longed for some dear friends to support, encourage, and to hold me accountable, and to keep pointing me to Jesus. Yet, inviting these particular friends into that sacred space meant that I would also have to bare my struggles, my shortcomings, and my heart.
No more would I be able to get by with putting on a smile while we kept our conversations comfortably at the surface. It was risky. I would have to open up and show the real me if I wanted the rich, deep, and true community I longed for.
Things were bound to change if I took this step, and change they did. Because we were willing to be honest with one another, this community became the place where we lived out the gospel message, and where I found acceptance, mercy, grace, and love.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether such relationship is worth the risk.
Here are 5 lessons that vulnerability taught me about myself and about relationship that will leave me changed forever:
1. Vulnerability goes Hand-in-Hand with Sharing the Gospel Message
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:25-16)
Let’s think about this logically. We are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Our purpose is to display the truth of the gospel message in thought, word, and deed so that others will see and know Jesus. The simplest summary of the message of the gospel is that sin separates us from God. Jesus Christ, the son of God, shed his perfect blood as an atonement for our sins to bridge the gap that sin created. His sacrifice cancels our sin and gives us the full joy of a relationship with Him and the gift of eternal life in Heaven.
How can we possibly share the message that his perfect, sinless blood covers our sin if we refuse to acknowledge that we aren’t perfect? If we portray ourselves as flawless, faultless, and perfect on our own, what need do we have for a Savior?
Our willingness to be vulnerable opens the door for us to tell others the good news of what Jesus has done for us. Vulnerability literally gives us a way to share the gospel message.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
2. Vulnerability Gives Life to Community
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
When someone paves the way for hearts to be shared and truth to be revealed, they open the way for grace, mercy, and love to be poured out. They also take that first step to creating a safe place where trust is the foundation and sharing is normal and cathartic. More often than not, we find ourselves met with the rally cry of “me too” and “you are not alone.”
We are more alike that we are different. We all have struggles and situations that we deal with in the course of our everyday lives. When we choose vulnerability, we are welcoming people into those spaces with us. When we do this, others are more willing to do the same and invite us to see their truest selves. As we align ourselves in this sacred space, we have the opportunity to not dwell in our faults and failures, but to lift each other up and encourage one another in the midst of them. We can point one another to the throne of Heaven and to Jesus as our hope for overcoming anything we face.
3. Vulnerability Takes Bravery, Discernment, and Wisdom
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)
It is a brave thing to be vulnerable. We know this because, when we consider bringing what’s comfortably hidden out into the open, we feel a visceral response. Our palms sweat. Our heart beats quicken. Our bellies somersault. That instinctive fight or flight response kicks in to remind us that we are on the verge of entering into potentially dangerous territory.
Unfortunately, not everyone is safe and not everyone can be trusted. However, because we have God’s Holy Spirit alive and active within us, we can ask for supernatural discernment and wisdom to guide us. God isn’t asking us to cannon ball in to treacherous waters. He is asking us to exercise discernment and wisdom as we dip our toes in, and then possibly take a step into the deep with the faith that being vulnerable helps us to show others God’s unmatched love, mercy, and grace.
4. Vulnerability Doesn't Guarantee a Positive Response
“You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
If we choose vulnerability, our hope is that we will be met with the same kind of grace, mercy, and love we see in the gospel. However, our vulnerability may not always be met with such a generous response. We have no control over how others respond to our honesty. We must be aware, and accept, that we could be met with judgement, criticism, apathy, or any other form of unloving responses.
Because we have the mind of Christ and the strength of the Holy Spirit, we can follow Jesus’ example by choosing love, grace, and mercy, even towards those who offended him. After all, our worth and value lies in the one who fully loves, accepts, forgives, understands, and cares for us regardless of the approval of others.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
5. Vulnerability Is a Gift
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Herein is the gift: His power is made perfect in our weakness. He is best displayed though our inadequacy. He is more than enough when we aren’t enough. He bridges the gap. His goodness and perfection cover us so that when the Father looks on us, he sees the perfect, sinless blood of Jesus.
We are fully seen, fully known, and fully loved. This doesn’t give us a free pass to live lost in our faults and sin. It gives us the opportunity to use our stories as real life, present day illustrations of the gospel message for others to see.
A Prayer for the Courage to Be Vulnerable
Through you we are fully seen, fully known, and fully loved. Jesus made sure of that when He shed his sinless blood to pay the sin debt that we all owe. We walk in confidence knowing that our worth and our value can never fade in your eyes.
We also see that in order for us to help others realize that same truth, we must choose to be vulnerable. Help us to make that choice. We choose to boast in our weaknesses so that the power of the gospel message can be seen in our lives.
Help us to be brave, discerning, and wise. Help us to rest in the truth of who you are, what you’ve done, and who we are in you. Let us be vibrant illustrations of your grace, mercy, and love.
In the name of Jesus, we ask these things,
Bobbie Schaeperkoetter is a writer, speaker, community builder, and an encourager of women at http://www.bobbieschae.com. She’s doing her best to honor God in the craziness of everyday life and she’d love to walk along side you as you do the same. You can connect with Bobbie through her website or on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/bobbieschae or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bobbieschae
Photo Credit: Getty Images