So even though I spoke on this just recently, I wanted to write down some of my thoughts concerning vulnerability.
Being vulnerable is hard. I don't want to mince words here. This is easily the most difficult thing that I have had to learn over all the years. And once more continues to be the most difficult thing. In order for true connection with God and others to go further and experience true unity, vulnerability is the absolute key.
But why is it hard?
Well we are born into this world as a weak pink thing, and we are dependent on others to nurture us, feed us, and clothe us. At some point later we begin the process of learning independence. From what I have seen this process starts sometime far to early for some, and far too late for others, but mostly the teenage years come to mind. We start having our own thoughts, ideas, and dreams... but we also have some capacity to act on them. This is a very healthy process, but later on in life, we realize we are interdependent on God and those around us.
Check out this article. Even though it is referring to dependence on touch, our interdependence on each other extends to our soul and spirit as well. So once we realize the interdependence is necessary, there is a balance that is struck in our lives. We are looking for how to express ourselves as individuals, but still remain part of a whole.
But this particular journey of becoming part of the whole is fraught with pushing through the pain of so many relational betrayals, hurts, and disconnects that the thought of being vulnerable triggers these deep seated wounds from our past.
Three things are needed:
One is realizing that our ability to feel happy is completely dependent on our relationships. We were created for interdependence and pursuing this is worth the risk of pain. Harvard University did a 75 year study that you can find a summary here. The short version is that warm relationships (love) is what creates long term happiness. Knowing this will give you vision to stay the course through the next two points.
Two is that we must learn to go back and forgive the people who wounded us in relationship. If we do not go back and forgive, we will continue to avoid that person and any other relationship that gets close to anything resembling that initial wound. Unforgiveness in our heart is bad root that bears terrible fruit. This particular point needs God more than ever. We need to ask Him to help us to forgive and soften our heart so that we can forgive truly. This will break the power of the deep seated roots and give you the freedom to make choices again.
Three is being purposeful to push through old habits and pursue relationship. This is both with God and others. Many times our hurts in relationships cause us to develop patterns that need to be broken. I have seen big hurts from those who have been in church that then project those hurts on God as if He was the cause, and then develop patterns to avoid Him and others in church. But if we go through the process of number two, then we must be purposeful to build new habits and make new pathways in our brain on what is good an healthy.
Vulnerability can then flow freely. It's still scary, but oh so worth it. You can be truly happy and at rest. This is a huge key to that happening.