I have been studying the way to have an abundant life and God has made it very clear that to claim this abundant life I need to allow myself to be vulnerable. I like to look like I am perfect, that I have got it all together and I hate it when I drop a ball I am juggling. If I am honest, even if I am overwhelmed, I want people to think that life is a breeze for me. I feel that sense of pride when someone says “I don’t know how you do everything you do” but I have come to realize that this attitude is dangerous for many reasons:
- I am teaching my children the same ideal. Relationships make clear what we need to work on. It is easy to be perfect if we are only in a relationship with Jesus but in other relationships they hold up a mirror to our flawed thinking and behaviour. For example, this week my son left his gum shield for rugby in my Dad’s car who was away on holiday. I got really annoyed with him whilst he berated himself for his forgetfulness. Later, as we prayed together the Holy Spirit whispered to me to pray with him saying that his forgetfulness is part of God’s design of him and it is ok not to be perfect as God loves him exactly as he is. It was a lightbulb moment for me. I was giving my son permission to not be perfect just as Jesus gives me the grace to not expect perfection from myself. I need to teach my son the same love and grace when he makes mistakes that God shows to me so he knows he is always worthy of love and he will always be enough for me and for God.
- Vulnerability reminds me I am alive. Vulnerability shows me I love. It requires faith which helps me grow in my relationship with God. Brene Brown, who researched vulnerability, suggests that when we numb feelings of vulnerability with food, alcohol etc, we can’t pick and choose the emotions that get numbed, it numbs them all including the happy emotions like joy, peace and love. Jesus showed his vulnerability in his humanity. The best example of this is in Luke 22:42 before his crucifixion when he says “Father, if you are willing to take this cup from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.” Jesus knew the pain to come and asked if it could be removed but also surrendered to God in that suffering.
- Vulnerability leads to power, when I am weak I have to rely on God. “For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power” (2 Cor 12: 9-10). God’s power is in his armour so we can be dressed for spiritual success. In Ephesians 6:18 says “pray in the spirit in all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord’s people.” We put on the armour in prayer. We put on the belt of truth saying that we believe what God has told us, we put on the breastplate of righteousness by acting based on what God has said. We put on the shoes of peace asking him how us to move forward. We put on the shield of faith praying to God that He support us in our actions. We put on the helmet of salvation asking God to take away distractions from His perspective. We hold the sword of the word of God to give us the right verse at the right time. Remember, David had to fight Goliath only after he was anointed, this is when the devil strikes, when we can do damage to his plan of destruction.
- It gives me clarity. Sin is an indication of needs and an incorrect mindset we haven’t taken to God and dealt with. We can’t have beauty without ashes.
- It teaches us humility. Jesus, when afraid, asked for his friends around him and asked God to help him and we can do the same. It removes the pride that so often sneaks into our hearts.
- It teaches us to be secure, not on our own but in how God sees us. Psalm 139:23 requests “explore me, O God, and know the real me”. Once our real selves to us, as God already knows us inside and out, we can be free. Luke 11:36 says “if you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant as though a floodlight were filling you with light”. When we see ourselves as God sees us we can begin to feel worthy. When we experience and know the love of God, we can remove the need for perfection and bathe in the warmth of his love for us. In the Bible it is described as though Jesus is our bridegroom. “Because he delights in me, he saved me,” Psalm 18:19 …it is hard to get my head round but we need to do nothing to earn his love, we don’t need to be perfect, we just need to enjoy it. God loves us enough to bring flowers every spring, a sunrise every morning, open arms for us to run to whenever we want it, a listening ear whenever we need it. When Adam sinned and hid, God knew what he had done but still went to look for him. He still wanted to be with him and he does to us when we sin.
We can be vulnerable to learn to be more like Jesus knowing that when we get it wrong, because we undoubtedly will, God’s grace is sufficient. He will never stop loving us, His love is reckless, powerful and life changing so if you are vulnerable right now, let God use it to bring you closer to Him.