Vulnerability. If you’re like me, even the word scares you.
Vulnerability involves risk. It involves opening up to someone and thus giving them ways to hurt you. It involves trusting someone.
Trusting can be hard, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past. But without trust, life—particularly the Christian life—gets ten times harder. However, there are still several reasons to encourage our vulnerability:
1. We need to be held accountable
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecc. 4:9-10)
Sin is a particularly hard thing to be vulnerable about. We don’t want to admit to struggling with sin—it hurts our pride. But the Bible says that two are better than one, and that Christians are to lift each other up. How can we lift each other up if we don’t know each other’s struggles?
Something I find ironic is how we have people keep us accountable in many areas of our lives: school, sports, healthy eating, and forming new habits. But how often do you have people keep you accountable in reading your Bible or avoiding sin? Find someone who will call you out, and who will do so with love and gentleness (2 Tim. 2:23-26).We have people keep us accountable in many areas of our lives: school, sports, healthy eating, and forming new habits. But how often do you have people keep you accountable in reading your Bible or avoiding sin? Click To Tweet
2. We aren’t meant to bear our burdens alone
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” (1 Thess. 5:14)
Life is hard, and it’s even harder alone. When I’m struggling with emotions, I shut the rest of the world out and do my best to talk about literally anything else. But when my friends do finally get me to talk? I feel so much better.
I’ve gone through several trials in my life, some much harder than others, but what has helped me in all of them is talking to others.
When I hold everything in, I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I’m drowning. I start feeling depressed. I reach a breaking point where anything (and I mean anything, even something as small as my earbuds breaking) can push me over the edge, where I may sob or scream—or both.
When I open up, I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. I can breathe. I feel rejuvenated.
Every time I wait to open up, I ask myself one question: why did I wait so long? And I promise I’ll open up sooner next time, but when the next time comes I hesitate again. Why? Because I’m scared, or I’m worried about bothering them.
3. You are not a bother
One of my biggest fears when it comes to being vulnerable is that I will bother them. Ironically, if someone told me they worried about bothering me, I would be hurt. I want my friends to come to me, and I can’t remember a single time that it bothered me. So why do I worry about bothering them?
Part of friendship is bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). When I told one of my friends this fear, she said that I could never bother her by wanting to share my feelings, because she loves our talks and she will always make time to listen to me. That’s true friendship.
No matter what I say, I am always terrified to be vulnerable with someone. What if they judge me? What if they tell? What if, what if?
A little trust goes a long way, and the times when I’ve regretted being truly vulnerable are few. On top of the reasons already listed, vulnerability always strengthens my relationship with my friends, taking our friendship to a new, deeper level.
Christ calls us to live in deep community with one another, but, unless we are willing to trust and be vulnerable, we will never discover what deep friendships, openness, honesty, and community can be.