RISING Strong, a book by Brené Brown, made me angry. Angry that I hadn’t picked it up a few hours earlier. Hours earlier, in conniption land, where nothing of life made sense in one large area of my life, I could have done with Brown’s astoundingly simple wisdom; a wisdom I often write about. I write about it because I need more of it — the strength to be weak, and the power to be vulnerable.
I’m so weak by nature, and so fearful at times, and I’d be ashamed to say it — a man of my forty-eight years — if I didn’t already know that my apparent weakness is its own strength… as I bounce back each time.
And we do bounce back. That’s the point of falling. Getting back up. The immediate impact of simply opening Brown’s book was revelatory. It’s no Bible, of course, but it helped me see how normal vulnerability is — or feeling vulnerable is, I should say.
Vulnerability, of course, is hardly normal.
Most of us have adapted to a life where we’ve found that vulnerability has not ever rewarded us. It’s been too much of a risk to be vulnerable. And vulnerability continues being a risk, in that many people will still want to squash us into submission because we have the audacity to present them a raw, honest, weaker-than-denial self. Well, up yours I say!
Being vulnerable is so countercultural it’s not valued; but we ought to know that God values our vulnerability, because it’s the truth.
I want to teach people to be more vulnerable, but that means I have to practice what I preach, and that means being less ashamed of myself when others reject my vulnerability. It’s just horrid being a scared little forty-eight-year-old, 100kg (220lb) to boot! But that’s me. It’s the ‘me’ that God’s made me to be.
What about you? What vulnerabilities do you have that tempt you into feeling embarrassed and ashamed? God wants you to embrace those very things, like he’s encouraging me to do the same thing.
There’s no shame in vulnerability, but we must remind ourselves often. That’s because the enemy is a snake in the grass. Satan works by shame.
So here’s the challenge, as Brown would also put it — fall, and fall with candour. Fall knowing that being vulnerable dignifies every fall. Fall with intent. Fall knowing you’ll get right back up again.
It takes so much courage,
To be me and you,
Courage means vulnerability,
A commitment to being true.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.