Finding God in our Vulnerability

I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability lately.

You either got really excited or really scared when you read that. It’s true, isn’t it? Some of us love the idea of vulnerability, others of us want to run for a room with a door and lock. Notice I said, some are excited about the idea of vulnerability. In truth, we’re all terrified by it. Some of us even have nightmares where we head out for the day and forget to put our pants on. Fear of vulnerability, much?

Vulnerability researcher and shame expert Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is the first think I look for in you, and the last thing I want you to see in me.” Amen, sister! Openness, authenticity, being real—it’s this generation’s relational currency. But are we really as excited about this as we say we are?

What I’m discovering about myself is that healthy vulnerability is the only way to meaningful relationships and the one thing in my life that takes ice-in-my-veins courage. It’s not courageous to maintain the appearance of strength and put-togetherness. Courage is being confident enough in who you are to allow your weaknesses to show, in all their glory.

Paul writes, “God’s power is made perfect in our weakness…. When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9–10). God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. This is not good news for me (or any of us, probably). What this means is that if we want to encounter God, it will be in the place of our weakness. Our encounter with Christ, which will result in our most significant growth, will result not because we avoided our weaknesses, or went around them, or worked really hard to cover them up or fix them up, but because we followed God right into the heart of the beast.

This weekend I’m speaking in the Potomac Conference (near Washington, D.C.) for a youth event called YouthFest 2013. Between 700 and 1000 youth, young adults, families and youth leaders are expected to attend the Friday night and Sabbath events. The theme they’ve chosen is growth: growth in our personal relationships with God and growth in our influence in the world for God’s kingdom. I’m excited to challenge the group with some of the upside down ways that God grows us in the hopes that a few more might learn to love the people God made them to be.

I appreciate your prayers!

—RYAN