“To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
C. S. Lewis
Vulnerability is risky. It makes us feel unprotected, defenseless, and exposed. It takes courage to place our reputation on the line and allow ourselves to possibly be hurt. But we do it for community. In order to connect on a heart-to-heart level, we must be vulnerable. A relationship cannot grow without it.
When I’m vulnerable, I’m transparent with the good, the bad, and the ugly in my life. It’s as if I’m saying, “into-me-you-see” which allows people access to my heart and it paves the way for them to share vulnerably. Opening up and bravely articulating what’s on our hearts, gives others permission to share. “Vulnerability begets vulnerability” (Brene Brown).
Recently I had the privilege to speak at a women’s retreat. After three sessions of sharing my life’s stories, of expressing my not-so-proud moments when I’ve sinned, the women were given an opportunity to be vulnerable. I was proud of their courageous heart felt confessions of what God did at the retreat. Through their tears and mine, we were able to connect with one another and community deepened.
Vulnerability or brokenness allows the Holy Spirit to enter. A few months ago at our Restoring Hearts Ministry’s board meeting, the Holy Spirit showed up. My board frequently hears me say, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” I have expressed my struggles, inadequacies, failures, and successes. Humility is needed to share the real me.
Isaiah 57:15 says that God lives “in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit.” Our board meetings are spiritual experiences, as we humble ourselves, become vulnerable with one another, and share our needs for prayer.
Connection happens when vulnerability is present. When I’m vulnerable I’m saying, “I trust you with my heart.” And that in turn causes them to trust me with theirs. Vulnerability gives permission to the Holy Spirit to work within our hearts, to connect with one another, and to build trust which strengthens our closeness. There’s no question about it; vulnerability increases intimacy and because of that, it’s well worth the risk.
“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability.”
Describe a time when you were vulnerable and it deepened your connection.
What fears prevent you from being vulnerable?