Vulnerability - Buzzword or Leadership Essential?
If you’ve been around Onelife for any length of time you have probably heard us bang on about vulnerability at one point or another. We do talk about it a lot. But, why? Is it just a buzzword we picked up from somewhere or do we really believe in it?
The definition of vulnerability is ‘the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’.
It’s exposing your weaknesses, letting other people see the parts of you that, if they decided to turn against you one day, would have the potential to hurt you. It’s being aware of the areas of weakness in our lives, the areas we know we might have fallen short in, the areas we struggle to pursue God in, the things that have scarred us over time and the things that take a daily toll on us.
And you might ask ‘Why would I want to think about those things, let alone go and share them with someone else?!’.
Well I think it’s summed up pretty well in this Brene Brown quote, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”.
How can we feel fully known and loved if we never let someone see the whole picture of who we are? How can we ever really belong if we refuse to give others the opportunity to accept all of us?
Vulnerability is the act of inviting someone into the parts of ourselves that we would rather keep hidden away and by doing that, inviting light in too.
Ephesians 5:13-14 says
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”.
As we let God into the areas of darkness in our lives, we let the light of Christ shine on it and bring it into the light, feelings of shame and guilt are dismissed when light comes in. Worry and fear flee as Christ’s light shines.
Jesus says, the truth will set you free. The truth that sets us free eternally is Him. The truth that sets us free day to day, is being truthful to Him about where we need His light to shine once again. As we let light and truth illuminate the darkness in our lives we step into freedom from shame that only vulnerability can bring.
For me, vulnerability has always been something that has challenged me and no matter how many times I’ve bared my soul there is still that small voice that asks ‘but if you tell them that, how will they love or respect you?’ But I’ve learned that this voice is one that is trying to keep me from freedom rather than draw me in to it. Each time I ignore that voice and step beyond my comfort zone I find a new glimpse of the freedom of Christ and the love of those around me.
As leaders, we need to be constantly aware of areas where we are vulnerable, areas where the enemy wants to attack us and take us down. We see leaders fall when they have stopped talking about their struggles, when they have stopped inviting the Spirit of God and trusted friends into those spaces.
A lifelong commitment to vulnerability is a commitment to keep inviting others into the places you would rather not, it’s the commitment to keep asking Jesus where you are falling short and inviting His strength in to the places of your greatest weakness.