To be vulnerable means opening your life to the possibility of being hurt; to be unprotected and open. This is what God calls us to be on a number of levels – in our relationship with Him, in our relationships with other mature believers, as well as with those we are discipling and mentoring.
Vulnerability is not something that comes naturally to any of us. By our basic human nature which is sinful we, like Adam and Eve, attempt to hide behind current day “fig leaves” and various “bushes” when it comes to relationships of any shape or form. We have socially acceptable masks that we wear – a different mask for each situation – often a different mask for each person we relate to. We are simply not free – or, at least, think we are not free – to be who we really are.
Being real and thus vulnerable with the people we relate to begins with being open, real and vulnerable in our relationship with God. It begins by opening our heart and our life to Him and allowing Him into each and every aspect of our inner world. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to shine His light in the dark corners so that we know that He knows absolutely everything about us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being vulnerable means actually making the Lord Jesus Lord. Coming under new ownership. Letting Jesus control and lead in all areas.
The second step before we can be vulnerable and open with others is to come to know and accept who we are – the person we discover as the Lord shines His light. The Bible talks about loving God and then loving our neighbor AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. We need to come to know ourselves and love the person we come to know. This means being comfortable with who we are and who we are becoming. Yes! There are a lot of things we know need to change and things to even dislike about who we are – but acceptance is the first step towards seeing that change. The first step in becoming free of alcohol is knowing and accepting that you are an alcoholic. It is the same principle here. Recognize who you are and so as not to be depressed – let the Lord show you who you are becoming (His plans and purpose for your life). And then accept and love who you are (not always what you do).
Once we have become real, open and vulnerable on these two levels – being ourselves with the Lord on a daily basis – and having come to know and accept ourselves … from that secure base of knowledge and acceptance we can begin to peel off the masks we wear with others and let them see the real person underneath. We can risk being known and being ridiculed and even rejected.
Because we know who we are and who we are becoming and are comfortable with that and know that we are totally known by the Lord and still loved and accepted by Him – we can risk having others not like us and even reject us. We are secure in His love and acceptance and know that we no longer have to pretend to be someone or something else with others. We can be open. We can invite others to come to know us and thus be vulnerable.
Today’s younger generation is looking for this type of authenticity, this type of reality, the integrity of faith that is so seldom seen in today’s religious world. They see the rigid legalistic world of organized denominational religion and the flakey and scary super-spirituality of the Charismatic Church and reject both. But when the youth of today meet up with someone who is open and not defensive, accepting and not judgmental, vulnerable and not closed up within themselves – they recognize that there is something there for them and gravitate to this type of person. They are sceamingly hungry for reality and somehow know that they can only find this within relationships that are real and vulnerable.
Once they see that in a person they will literally follow you until they too can become vulnerable and open – which means born again and in a relationship with God. And, as a result, you will never find yourself short of younger people following you wanting to be discipled and mentored. Welcome to the ministry as it should be.