Part of my role for the Junior High Mission Trip included leading the nightly devotions for the students. One of my nightly talks surprised me as I had five or six people approach me afterward telling me how much they enjoyed it and how much it meant to them. I spent a lot of time that night reflecting on why that particular message seemed to go over so well when it suddenly struck me. It was because I had been vulnerable with the students. I had opened up to them and told them a story from a painful time in my life that caused me to question both God’s goodness and God’s existence. They appreciated the raw honesty of what I shared with them. As I reflected even further back, I realized that almost every talk that I have given that have gone over well had some sense of vulnerability within it. I think this is because even though it can seem counter-intuitive being vulnerable can be empowering.
Being vulnerable can be empowering to others: Sharing my story, although it was tough, allowed them to see that being flawed is okay and it’s alright for them to be flawed too. No person is perfect no matter how much we might idolize them or look up to them. By opening up to them, I was able to actively demonstrate that even I, a Youth Director, have struggles in my faith walk and that it is perfectly normal. This helps them to realize that they are not alone in their struggles. When people no longer feel isolated in what they are going through they are able to reach out for help easier. We are much stronger in a community than in isolation.
Being vulnerable can be empowering to yourself: Vulnerability allows us to admit that we are not perfect to others and sometimes even ourselves. For a long time in my past, I used to equate how much I am loved by how much I can impress others. I used to think that I could earn the love of those around me. Because of that, I used to try to be perfect and in the places where I was not I would cover it up. Being vulnerable forces you to hold a mirror up to yourself and allows you to finally see and admit your flaws. It allows you to accept the fact that you do not need to be perfect and that to be flawed is to be human. It’s empowering to be able to accept yourself with all of your downfalls.
For these very reasons, I would like to encourage us to all to be a little bit more vulnerable this week. May you allow your stories of anxiety, anger, pain and hurt to be shared with others. May we stop trying to pretend that we are perfect and allow our vulnerability to empower both ourselves and those around us.