“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” – Brene Brown
Being vulnerable is not a natural posture for any of us. The nature of vulnerability means that one is exposed, naked, unprotected from powers that can hurt and harm. As a city person, I feel so vulnerable when I am out on a hike wondering what beast is going to charge out of the forest and attack. I don’t like that feeling. Perhaps what’s worse is when I become vulnerable to another person, admitting my mistake, or failure. To be in a place of weakness and at the mercy of another is never a place any of us would choose.
And yet, as Brene Brown beautifully points out, vulnerability takes courage. It is in those moments of vulnerability where we learn what we are made of, where we are weak, and maybe a measurement of how much we value relationships. I think it was Freud who said, love makes us vulnerable. To love another requires vulnerability. To honor another requires vulnerability. To confess makes us vulnerable.
It is counter-intuitive to say being vulnerable is powerful. It is more acceptable to say, “keep a stiff upper lip,” or “don’t let anyone see you sweat.” To be vulnerable would appear to be the way of weakness. Not so. The way to love, strength, and peace is to be vulnerable. Perhaps the words of Christ paint a picture of what vulnerability looks like:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35