Vulnerability: Wholehearted Living
“Courage (from latin: coeur): to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
Connection with others gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It’s how we were created. Even on a physiological level it’s how we’re wired neurobiologically.
Too many of us have been conditioned to respond, “Good. How are you?” to the disingenuous but seemingly obligatory question of “How are you doing?” as we pass by an acquaintance. Side note: I actually had someone say “Good. How are you?” in response to me trying to mix things up and say “Hey man! It’s great to see you!”
Too many of us long for deep connection and intimacy but don’t want to take the risk required to expose ourselves to build the mutual trust that makes relationships worthwhile.
Too many of us prefer to numb ourselves to grief, shame, and disappointment but don’t realize that we are numbing joy, gratitude, and happiness in the process.
Where are those who desire to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ
who willingly hung naked on a cross for the world to see
who willingly asked us to come and touch His wounds
who took a risk and gave Himself up knowing that some still might reject Him
You see, vulnerability is not weakness. It is the most courageous thing you can do. To let ourselves be seen.. to let ourselves be known. For it is only when we are fully known that we can be fully loved.
Let us love with our whole hearts even though there’s no guarantee. Let us lean into the discomfort of exposing ourselves knowing that to feel vulnerable means that you’re alive. When you ask the questions,
“Can I love this person this much?”
“Can I believe in this as passionately?”
“Can I be this fierce about this?”
do not give into fear but know that this is what it means to be alive.
Let us not try to make uncertain things certain; let us have the courage to be imperfect; let us not pretend but rather present people with the most authentic version of ourselves.
Let us dare greatly and learn from failure when it comes our way instead of avoiding it by not trying at all. This is the only way to grow.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Let us follow in the footsteps of our Maker:
God takes risks. The Incarnation of Jesus was perhaps the greatest risk ever taken… God shows His true greatness when He shows His ability to be weak. To condescend – to get down on our level – is the way God makes Himself open to us. And by doing so He makes Himself vulnerable (Fr Meletios Webber in Bread & Water, Wine & Oil).
By His most human action, an action which expresses all the weakness and impotence of our created nature, Christ shows Himself to be God. The profundity of this puts one at a loss for words (Fr John Behr in The Mystery of Christ: Life and Death).
Vulnerability is not weakness. It is strength. It is power. It is love. It is truth.. and it is truth that sets us free.
“True love is borne out of true vulnerability, and true love is humble enough to be rejected, to be crucified, to be killed. However, we need to go through the cross to get to the Resurrection and we need to go through vulnerability, through the risk of being rejected if we hope to reach the sort of relationship and communion that come from being fully known and fully accepted.”