Dear Ones- Welcome to March! It's going to be a great month, with special guest preaching, musical guests, and, of course, our “Spring Fling” potluck and entertainment to kick off our pledge campaign. Our theme for the month is “Vulnerability”, and so I'd like to take a moment and consider what that might mean. I suppose in some contexts it could mean “defenseless”. If your computer is “vulnerable” to virus attack, clearly that's not a good thing and needs to be fixed ASAP. You don't want your computer to crash from a virus.
And that's certainly true for computers. But we humans are not computers (at least, not yet!) So we might look at vulnerability a little differently. Rather than looking at it as a weakness, might we look at it as a potential strength?
When we make ourselves vulnerable to one another, we open ourselves up to the potential for deeper relationship. And while there is, certainly, the potential for harm, might it be worth the risk?
That's why there are some other things that MUST accompany making yourself vulnerable.
Vulnerability is NOT weakness. Being willing to be vulnerable means that you are strong enough to accept the risk.
Being vulnerable means trusting that the other person will not harm you. I think one reason it's so very hard to be vulnerable is that in our past we have been hurt by those whom we've trusted. It may not have been intentional, nor might it have been a huge, crushing betrayal. It might have only been a thoughtless word. But it hurt, and led to a hesitancy to be vulnerable to either that person, or to people in general.
I know- some of us are very resistant to that word! But I'm not talking about faith in a supernatural being, or even a religious tradition. I'm talking about faith in the potential for good; I'm talking about having a positive attitude about the potential outcome. Whatever your religious/spiritual inclinations, being vulnerable is an act of faith.
Being vulnerable requires an act of bravery. You know you're opening yourself up to potential harm. But you trust this person, and you believe that deepening the relationship will be fulfilling and important. So you “screw your courage to the sticking place”(to quote Shakespeare) and dive in. That is the very definition of bravery, in my opinion.
Doing this- being vulnerable- is usually pretty scary. So a vital part of being vulnerable is knowing that you're not alone; that there's a “safety net” to catch you if you trust is misplaced, or your bravery fails. If the relationship sours(or whatever you're being vulnerable about) and you end up hurt and angry, it's important to know you're not alone; that there are people who will support you, encourage you, and help you to heal.
Research Professor Brene Brown talks a lot about vulnerability. We'll be talking more about her on March 12. In an interview she did for Inc Magazine, she says, “ ...to really put ourselves out there, ...I just don't think it gets more courageous than that”.
May each of us have courage, strength, bravery, faith and trust enough to be vulnerable. And if we should fail, may our beloved community be there to help us heal!
Wishing you peace and blessings,