I don’t like to get hurt. I mean, stubbing my toe or slipping on the ice and going down in a heap is no fun. That pain is temporary, though. Often, there isn’t much we can do to avoid it.
I’m talking about the type of pain you feel when you’ve been rebuked, straight-up failed at something or suffered some sort of loss. If this hurt stems from trying something new or deciding to ignore your self-doubt and drop your defenses, it can be even more gut-wrenching.
It happens, though. It’s a certainty in life. Sometimes it’s only skin-deep, so it doesn’t really cause much suffering. Other times the pain is so deep, so strong, it’s incapacitating.
Vulnerability is tough. Our natural human reaction is self-preservation. Opening ourselves up to others, though, can be so beautiful. In doing so, we give up control and we trust someone else with what happens “next”.
Vulnerability has become a part of my everyday life. I’m a parent. You can’t help but be vulnerable. When those adorable little monsters come into existence, you’re opening yourself up to the potential for life-altering pain. The thought of my children being hurt, or worse, is a legitimate source of anxiety in my life.
On the flip-side, the capacity for joy and happiness increases exponentially. Morning cuddles are my favorite way to start a day. Random hugs and requests to wrestle help me remember to enjoy each moment. When my one-year-old hands me a purple plastic tea cup, I drink the pretend tea. The day will come when she no longer wants to my barista.
We decided to start a family not because it’s “what you do” but, rather, because it was a desire from God. We chose to make ourselves open to what He would create our family to be. We didn’t get to select a boy or girl, healthy or not, for our biological children. Those were decisions we trusted God with.
That trust in God is what allowed our hearts to be opened to a child in China. In His boundless wisdom, He gave us a little girl with physical needs. We have a lot to do and to prepare, and must travel there in order to adopt her, but all of the work is worth it. As was the case with our biological children, this is the Child God gave us. We can’t wait to meet her.
It’s inescapable, but at some point, my wife and I will have to let go of our children. They will make decisions for their own lives and we’ll be powerless to do anything about it. It’s all a part of being vulnerable. We don’t control the future. They get to decide who they are. They get to decide what comes “next.”
It’s going to be a fun ride.
Cooking can be scary. Especially if it’s a meal you’ve not previously prepared. Take a risk and invite some friends over to share a meal from a new-to-you recipe. Choose something challenging.
I recommend Pasta Bolognese. It’s a time-consuming sauce which requires your attention. The love and care you put into crafting it will show once everyone is gathered around the table.
Instead of spaghetti, look for some fresh tagliatelle or pappardelle. Better yet, make your own!
“Light” by Sleeping at Last
Full disclosure: I’m a crier, a tender-heart. Unabashedly so. This song really hits home, for me, when I think about my kids growing up. It captures the emotion of opening your life to having children, wanting to give them all you can, but realizing you’ll have to let them go and live their own life.
Excuse me while I go hug my kids…
Heavenly Father, help me to remember you are in control and I need not worry. Please help me lead a life of vulnerability with you, with others, so that I may find the joy in openness, ignoring the barriers I perceive.
To paraphrase the Apostle Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians, we’re here to boast about our weaknesses, because in doing so, we are made strong.
Big or small, actual or perceived, our “stuff” matters to God. Coming to Him, open to hearing Him will never leave us disheartened. Equipped with this knowledge, we can be unrestricted in sharing our vulnerabilities, trusting our God to strengthen us and help us see we’re no different than anyone else. There is safety and comfort in vulnerability when we trust in God.
Take time to share something you’re afraid to share. A friend will be there to love you. Conversely, allow yourself to be there for someone. Let them open up to you.
Beauty in Vulnerability – Brandon Estrada
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