I’d like to make a case for vulnerability.
For many people, the word vulnerability doesn’t necessary give them warm and fuzzy feelings. It probably makes them feel uncomfortable, nervous, or scared. I’m not always a huge fan of the word. It usually means that I will be pushed outside of my comfort zone and will have to open up to others, to be 100% real. Consequently, this means that those listening have the choice to respond through rejection, acceptance, or indifference.
But I think I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me rewind and make sure we’re all thinking of the same use of the word vulnerability.
There’s this wonderful video on YouTube entitled Shoot Christians Say. My friends showed me this earlier in the semester and I realized how many words Christians throw around that sound bizarre or have other meanings in the secular word. So let me explain what I mean by vulnerability within the context of Christianity.
I think the best way for me to explain this is with a story. I was in the ninth grade when I met the girl who would become my mentor. She was someone I could talk to about anything and she would accept me and love me still. She would listen to me and respond with Godly advice. She would be the one person who would not necessarily tell me what I wanted to hear. She would tell me what I needed to hear. She was also ten years older than me. Now imagine my surprise when I started opening up to her about my life, and she also opened up and gave me advice based on experiences she had. Only, she didn’t just scratch the surface. She dug deep and talked about sensitive topics from her past in order to help me see that there is hope for me.
That’s vulnerability. Peeling back the layers of your life in order to help others. That’s true, raw vulnerability.
It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. No one can predict how the other person will respond.
In my case, it strengthened my relationship with my mentor and helped to grow our relationship into what it is now. In a world that can feel so fake, fake answers, fake people hidden behind masks, I was amazed to meet a person who was older than me by ten years and was still willing to open up to me and help me see that I wasn’t just some weird, hormonal teenager.
In fact, the more people I talk to, the more I see stories like mine everywhere. All it takes is one person to be vulnerable with another to grow the friendship into a deeper relationship.
Yet vulnerability is much more than that. I find that when I’m vulnerable with others, I’m humbled. Vulnerability makes you take off the masks you’ve been wearing. Maybe the masks were a source of protection or a way to disguise a part of you that you don’t want others to see. Yet, when you take off the mask, when you peek out from behind the plastic mold, you just may realize that others will be there to catch you if you fall. You are humbled to understand that they have been living with a mask too.
It only takes one person to be vulnerable.
Our society is filled with people who build up walls, thick slabs of concrete to hide the real person they are. We are becoming a society filled with fake people who change depending on who they are with.
What if we were vulnerable? What if we were vulnerable people who made it safe to be vulnerable?
What if masks became weird? What if vulnerability was the norm?
Vulnerability isn’t the end. It’s not. Vulnerability is just the beginning.
So I’d like to make a case for vulnerability. Not because it’s popular. It’s not.
But it is life changing if you just give it a shot.