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Vulnerability in Relationships



Vulnerability: 

  • openness or susceptibility to attack or harm.

  • willingness to show emotion or to allow one’s weaknesses to be seen or known; willingness to risk being emotionally hurt.


Vulnerability is so powerful. 


When we are vulnerable before the Lover of our Souls, even though He already knows and He is perfect and holy, there is this beautiful and miraculous exchange. We come limping under the weight of our burden, with all our lack and our wounds and holy and righteous as He is, He is compassionate towards us. He moves towards us. He lifts our burdens, He gives plenty where we had lack, strength where we are weak and healing where we are wounded. 


Alexandria has already written so beautifully about this vulnerability before God (http://www.prettyandwise.com/blog/vulnerability) and I pray that you know this vulnerability well. I pray that you have come near when you were tempted to run away and I pray that you have encountered His grace like never before. 


I also pray that you have known or will know this type of vulnerability in your relationships. 


It is one thing to be vulnerable with the One who will never leave you or forsake you, who has loved you with an everlasting love and who has given His life for you. And even that can be difficult for us to wrap our heads around. Even then it can be a challenge to lay aside our hardened, put-together exterior to reveal an interior that feels so exposed out in the open after being so shielded and guarded for so long. 


It is another thing altogether to trust imperfect people in this way. 


This is going to sound weird, but I just have this picture in my mind of a cicada. 


...Okay, if you're still here, bless you! Bear with me now. 


Cicadas live underground for years and years, from 2-17 years. They attach to tree roots and suck tree sap; they live and feed off of the roots of trees. Then after a time of dormancy, this underground life, they emerge aboveground. They climb the trunk of their tree and they shed their skin. 


I have witnessed a cicada emerging from its exoskeleton. It was amazing to me that the outside of these creatures was so hard. We would find their shells outside all over the place, brown and tough and well-preserved, clinging to various outdoors surfaces. But when the cicada emerged, I was surprised to see a bright green insect, its underbelly soft and exposed as it stretched its body out. 


My kids and I watched this particular cicada for a ridiculously long time one night. We couldn't leave, though, because we felt this need to guard it. This creature had spent so long cocooned, safe and secure underground, wrapped tight in the earth, attached to the root, covered by a tough shell. And then to come out into the world and to literally hang wide open with all sorts of danger around.. it is really a sight to behold. 


My sister, it is a sight to behold when we risk this same kind of exposure within the body of Christ. There are many, many of us who have essentially been underground. We have this same protective shell and to be vulnerable means to risk real harm or even death. 


You have been sustained by the vine. Even now you may be clinging to the vine that has kept you all these years, nails digging into a strong and sturdy trunk. Will He fail you now? 


What if I told you that it is He who actually has a hold on you? It is the Lord Himself who stands guard over you as you shed your protective shell and step towards this intimacy with His people. 


He has created you for this intimacy and community with His body. We need one another! And He has such a beautiful purpose for us as we live life together in the way He designed. There are amazing things that He will do through the baring of our souls to one another, through confession and repentance and prayer with our brothers and sisters. 


Indeed we open ourselves up to potential harm. Many of us may have even been wounded in the past by the very people we trusted to love us well. Beloved, this cannot stop you from trying again. Let the Lord dress your wounds and let Him lead you into this beautiful unity. 


It is a wonder that the Lord will use us, imperfect as we are. It is a wonder that He will use others to do the work of His hands: to lift burdens, to speak life and Truth, to build up and to encourage. There is a very real healing that happens within a people who love the Lord and strive to love people as they have been loved. 


It feels so much safer and easier to remain hidden and unseen, but the truth is that there is true safety within the fold. It feels safer and easier to bundle up within an exoskeleton of sorts, but there is a beauty and freedom unmatched that awaits you just outside of that exterior. 


If you are reading this, it may just be time for you, dear one, to take a step toward vulnerability. Hold tight to Jesus. Pray for Him to show you the people He has for you. He will help you and He will keep you. He will make you brave. He will be your shield and your bulwark.


There are treasures and riches that await you. Step out and into freedom that you have not yet known. Stand in awe as you are seen and known and truly loved, in spite of all your reservations, fears and failures and flaws. 


Take heart, beloved daughter of God. Take heart.



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