Life is difficult. For some more than for others. I have seen my share of struggle but if we were to sit down together and share our stories, we may find my path less arduous than yours. The battles I have faced, am facing, and will face though, are specifically designed for me. Just like yours are for you. Let’s just agree here, that life is universally difficult (John 16:33).
For many, that reality drains hope. Because life is difficult, they see no purpose for joy. ‘Life is hard so I am hard,’ is the mantra. This belief is beyond familiar to me. I’ve worn the armor for so long its warmth is familiar and comfortable. Defensiveness carried me through many circumstances, serving me well time and time again. The walls being “up” kept me safe – the convincible lie.
Truth is, the gates intended to keep others out become prisons for our own soul; rooms for isolation. This is because when we stop caring and feeling, we lose our ability to connect.
What’s the alternative? Trust again? Be hurt again? Use your voice to express your heart again? Have promises broken again? Tell the truth again? Be lied to again? Yes!
True strength is on display when we are able to stay soft through the pain. It’s called vulnerability.
Brene Brown has done extensive research on vulnerability and defines it this way, “Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of the outcome.” She goes on to say, “Vulnerability is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.”
Vulnerability is not safe. It is, however, life giving and grace receiving. Vulnerability is not weakness. In fact, its our greatest measure of courage. Vulnerability is not isolating. It is choosing to stay connected and experience all life has to offer with our whole hearts. Vulnerability is the way of Jesus.
Despite the disbelief, hate, and violence experienced, Christ remained compassionate, loving and peaceful. Jesus did not exchange His heart for comfort and safety. Instead He walked the path laid before Him while remaining connected to the people around Him.
The path of vulnerability is enduring the struggle without picking up the armor. Soon vulnerability will feel warm, familiar and comfortable too… I just need to keep wearing it for awhile. I plan to start a new trend, wanna join me?