We live in a fast-paced world where no one connects…at least not in person anymore. How much time do we spend on phones comparing ourselves to others is beyond measurement? Technology has taken place of the human connection, am I right? It’s easy to turn out the world of connection with that device in hand. Technology can be a wonderful tool to connect with others. Say you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop. Have you even noticed who has passed by you? Maybe you don’t even realize you’re in line with others because it’s really a line of people ignoring each other while on their devices in their own worlds. We don’t even notice we are literally surrounded by people when we’re online searching for a distraction from the very fact that we are lonely! We’re lonely because we no longer make ourselves vulnerable to a simple conversation while in line for coffee.
Chances are that you are in recovery or are struggling with some form of addiction or behavioral issue if you’re reading this. Part of the recovery process that is essential but rarely discussed is the vulnerability factor. Most addicts or people in recovery have spent their lives avoiding vulnerability. Even if you’re not an addict or in recovery, ask yourself. How often have you avoided people through that device, or how many masks do you wear on social media to avoid being vulnerable? I know I avoided vulnerability until I was so desperate for a change I had nowhere else to turn.
I made some very poor decisions in the first half of my marriage. My decisions were a result of my refusal to be vulnerable. My addictive personality, coupled with a ridiculous amount of codependence, along with constant isolation led me down a path of destruction. When my marriage imploded, I found myself in a recovery room full of women who struggled with love and relationship addiction. We went around the room, each having a few minutes to share about our addiction and our week in recovery. My vulnerability fear had me in an internal battle with myself. I was trembling, shaking at the thought of revealing myself as a love addict. I had never even admitted this to myself, let alone reveal it to strangers. My heart was racing, my thoughts were panicked, and my mind was somewhere far away. Before I knew it, it was my time to speak. “My name is Rachel. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, who struggles with love and relationship addiction.” There. I said it. The words fell out of my mouth and there was no turning back. The truth was spoken.
What happened next was a mixture of emotional flurries and confusing sobs. I spent the next 5 minutes confessing everything I had done wrong in my marriage that led it to a place of separation. My words fell out like glass shattering on the floor. I thought about what this moment would look like before I had gone to recovery. I imagined that I would confess my ridiculous, inappropriate, and sinful behavior. I imagined being met with judgment. I imagined the world would come to a screeching halt, and that everyone on it would fly off simultaneously at the shock and awe of my addictive behavior. I imagined the earth would open up and swallow me whole, sending me to the fiery inferno I thought I deserved.
You need to be vulnerable because it connects the human soul to others.
So there I was, confessing the deepest, darkest secrets of my part of the failing relationship in that recovery room. The world didn’t stop spinning. The earth didn’t swallow me whole. What happened next sent Holy Spirit goosebumps all down my body. Are you ready for it? No one judged me. No one gasped. No one condemned me. I was met with hugs, love, and support. They loved me just as I was. They loved the broken, messy, sinful woman I was. Some of them even said “me too,” and they became the very best friends I have ever had. I was met in my vulnerability by other addicts that had decided to be vulnerable themselves… the “me too” moments connect the souls. They connect souls through the very concept of vulnerability and shame.
Through my God’s and my husband’s forgiveness, grace and unconditional love, I was able to make myself healthy again. Our marriage was restored. If I hadn’t had the courage to be vulnerable that moment in the recovery room, I wouldn’t have discovered the power of vulnerability. I wouldn’t have discovered that vulnerability connects souls. The vulnerability was what was missing in my marriage, in my friendships, in my family, and in my life.
You need to be vulnerable because, in your weakness, you are made strong.
Nowadays, I get anxiety about writing about my vulnerable moments. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? The minute after I click on the submit or send button my nerves go haywire. What if this piece totally sucks? What if I totally missed the mark? Crap. I’m completely exposed. I’m broadcasting my issues for the world to see. What will my mother think of this? Why am I doing this? I’m crazy. That’s it. I’m certifiably crazy because no one does this.
I’m a prisoner of the vulnerability induced panic attack until I can get myself under control again. Even after all I’ve learned through all my addictions and impulsive behavioral traits, I still find the vulnerability to be one of the most difficult pills to swallow in recovery. It requires trust. It requires faith. It requires humility. A vulnerability is the rawest moment a human can experience, and yet through it, we are forged by the fire.
I didn’t experience true freedom from my hang-ups until I released them into the world. I confessed, and I was free from the enslavement that secrets keep you in. My secrets kept me in bondage for years. Think about it. If you no longer have anything to hide, you really are a new creation. Life begins when you no longer have to worry about being “found out.”
You need to be vulnerable because the world needs you.
Yes, you read that right. Yes, you. The world needs you. The world is full of fallen, ill, sinners like me and we need others to show us that we are going to be ok. Telling someone they are going to be ok is easy, I’m sure a monkey could be trained to do that. We need to share our stories with each other with a sense of vulnerability. We get stronger when we are vulnerable but we cannot do it alone. In the recovery world, accountability partners and sponsors save lives by making themselves vulnerable to the people they are in recovery with. This can mean the difference in life and death choices for some people.
What would happen if you made yourself vulnerable just once, on social media? Instead of showing the world how stunning you are, turn off the filter. See what happens. What happens is people get real and some may be judgmental, but to that one person who says “me, too”…well, you’ve made the world a better place to them. They breathe a sigh of relief knowing they’re not alone in their struggle, whatever it may be.
So there you have it. The reasons you need to be vulnerable have been laid out for you. What will you choose to do with the gift of vulnerability? Will you change lives or will you continue to avoid vulnerability because of shame and anxiety? The choice is yours. Being vulnerable is optional, and the road is full of difficulties, but trust me my friends, when I say it is worth it. Ultimately those who choose vulnerability choose love, and the world needs more of that.
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