Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Vulnerability Paradox

The paradox of being “perfect” to be “liked” is quickly changing.
Everyone “likes” the girl that seems to “have it all together,” but does anyone really connect to her? And what matters more?

Let me ask you something, what is one thing that draws human beings together in no other way- something that cultivates the deepest of relationships?


Can I propose a thought to you? That vulnerability, though scary at the thought, is one of the keys to deep relationships and drawing people together. The problem is, we live in a society that runs from it. We want our lives to look “perfect” on social media so people “like” us, and think great things about us, but ultimately deep down, we know that’s not reality.  May I propose to you that some of the most engaged social media posts are those that are real. The posts that make you tear up. That make you FEEL something on a deeper level. Some of my friends are really good this, and I so admire their courage to be so vulnerable. Because the reality is, when we’re vulnerable, it opens us up to potential hurt too- that’s why it’s scary. gives 3 main definitions for Vulnerability: 1). capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon, 2). Open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc., and 3). (of a place) open to assault, difficult to defend.
Ouch. There's a reason we think it's scary, right? And we'd be crazy to think it isn't, but at the same time, it’s kind of like love in some ways (I’m laughing at myself for typing the previous sentence, and bringing ‘love’ into this, as I know it sounds so cliche, but reader, it’s TRUE). Vulnerability is risky, and with it you have the potential for great hurt…..but you also have the potential for great, great gain.

I wouldn’t be honest if I told you that every day was perfect, because it’s not, and you know that just as much as I do. Our imperfections make us vulnerable, yes, but they also make us human. There is something extremely comforting when another soul looks at you and says: “I get that. I’ve been there too, I’m just like you. You are not alone in this.” Sometimes we don’t want to share our burdens because we think we will be a burden, but is it not commanded in Scripture to do so with those we trust and love (See Galatians 6:2)? Or maybe we keep things in because we don’t want the attention and sympathy. We think we can handle it ourselves, or worse, we don’t want to become “attention seeking” so we’d rather just not tell anyone completely- OR we don’t want to appear “weak” so we pretend everything is fine.  Maybe it’s just me.

But here’s the thing, if we don’t share our weaknesses and vulnerability, we become unrelatable and fake. As a leader of a team, I need to be vulnerable and share my struggles, because otherwise my team will think that what I’ve done is unattainable (which it’s not), and they’ll think they’ll never be “good enough” to lead a team of their own- and I never, ever, want anyone to think that about themselves based on my public projection of myself. I am fully human, and I make mistakes. I doubt myself, and I have insecurities too. I am just like you. We are all more alike than we are different (it is literally true, as science has show that all humans are genetically 99.9% identical to each other. Sorry, that was my inner nerd ;) ).

Does this all make sense? Moreover, if we don’t share, we’re like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode. We NEED each other, yes, NEED. We were not created to be solitary creatures and we need community, with deep, connecting relationships where we can feel safe to share burdens without judgement. It’s how we were created, and it’s how we will thrive. If we fight against it, we are only hurting ourselves.

So, dear sweet reader (by the way, thanks for reading this far and sticking through this post, you’ve nearly made it to the end), I propose a challenge to you (and to me):

Let’s be more vulnerable and share our burdens with one another. Life is not easy, and we will all experience hard things in our lives, but burdens are not meant to be carried alone. They are meant to be upheld and supported by the community and body of Christ. You matter, and your situation matters.

On the flip side, If someone shares a burden with you, support them, and love them through it. Don’t judge others based on a situation they’re going through. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and none of us are above the line of perfection.

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