Vulnerability. What You Need To Know.

This is a talk I did at church last night.  I thought I would share with you as well. Enjoy and be enlightened.

• You are enough. You will never be more wanted or loved by God. You are worthy of love and redemption . There is no amount of good deeds that will make God love you more. If you could earn more love; God would be a liar because His promise of a hope and a future would not apply to everyone; it would only apply to those who have time to rack up good deeds. This is something you have to know, that you know, that you know, to be vulnerable with God and man.
• Vulnerability is an emotional risk without any guarantees. When I first saw Brown’s Ted Talk I figured I would just show you her video; but I decided to embrace the vulnerability of speaking to you. We are also vulnerable in our prayers; we might get the hard answer, He might say no, or not yet but to not pray and be vulnerable with Him is to ensure we won’t be heard.
• We fail to be vulnerable because of past hurts, disappointments, and shame. We are a society of bottlers. We have made an unsaid agreement that vulnerability is weakness and there is no room for weakness in the way we live. Americans we have pushed being vulnerable away and let emoticons become our way of expressing emotion. We lol our way out of tight conversations, we have harsh wit to combat a rude comment. Then wonder why we are the most successful country and we hate our lives.
• The bad habit of numbing starts through addiction, debt, medication, food, and busy-ness. It is not unusual to see women smoking and drinking. People who would never touch drugs or drinks love their cookie jars. Heart failure and obesity is becoming the main killer of Americans; even in our babies. The average American household debt is $15,000 in credit cards, $150,000 in mortgages, and $30,000 in student loans. We take pills to wake up, pills to function during the day, pills to go to sleep, pills to cope, and pills to enjoy sex. Last we are busy. We run to work; we run to school, we run our kids around, to the grocery store, run to lunch. And when we can’t take a pill, buy something, eat something, we do not rest in God. We decide it’s us, so we sit in our shame believing that something is fundamentally wrong with us.
• When you numb shame, weakness, and disappointment you also numb joy, creativity, peace. We are incapable of separating our emotions. We can’t pick tonight I am numbing this but keeping my joy. We either feel all of the emotions or we numb all of the emotions. I thought I was a successful number. I would be mad I drank, I would be sad I drank, and then something wonderful happened to celebrate I drank. It was numbing everything not just the things I disliked. Vulnerabilities downside is it can show its head when negative things happen but it also is
• The birthplace of joy, creativity, and peace. All these positive things come from God. You have to be vulnerable to experience real joy. You are vulnerable when you are at peace. It is also vulnerable to be creative. I tried out a business venture last January. I thought I finally had my ducks in a row. Things out of my control did hinder my initial start up. But looking back with fresh eyes I was scared of failure. I didn’t want my husband’s family see the girl he married not make it. And even more then that I didn’t want to see me not make it either. I choked a good thing for myself by not embracing the vulnerability of it. I wasted time, effort, and money.
• Vulnerability is showing up. Someone dies, a miscarriage, a divorce. Or they are making choices we don’t agree with. Everything in us yells RUN! Don’t talk about it, avoid that person. We need to make the decision to go against that feeling. Our feelings are liars and we cannot trust them to guide us. God has to guide our path. He wants us to go to those situations. It shows His character when we embrace those times with the ones we love. He comes to our brokenness and we are needed to go to their brokenness.
• Empathy is rarely seen in today’s world. It differs from sympathy because empathy makes us dig into ourselves to pull out emotions our friends are dealing with. To use Brown’s analogy sympathy is seeing someone in the bottom of a well and saying man that sucks can I get you a sandwich? Empathy dives into the well and says I know. I’ve been here let’s get out together. If more people used empathy instead of sympathy a lot of the pressure to perform would be removed.
• When we can’t relate, we need to still show up. The great thing about cars, phones, email, is it gives us possibility to show up. When my friend died four years ago I was a mess. No one knew how to deal with me. He was early 20’s and it was sudden. There was only one friend that came for me. At the time I thought I had found all the friends I would ever need but only one showed up. It was a wakeup call to who and what true friends were. She didn’t know what to say and I didn’t need her to say anything.
• We are here for connection with God and with others. As the church we need to connect with God in prayer and in His word. He will lead us to where we will be most effective. He will tell us who to go to. We are his hands and His feet. We ask for the Holy Spirit to guide us . Our roots need to be deep in God so we bear good fruit. I wrote in my journal every person I could think of who I knew wasn’t saved. I prayed for these people to come to know Christ. If they walked in Christ how life giving would it be for the communities we participate in. Those people would witness and those people would witness and there would be seeds planted, gardens watered, and fruit ripe for harvest all over Dallas, Texas, America, and the world.
• But we like to hold back ourselves and that suppresses connection. We are afraid that if we let God see us he will fall off his thrown and wonder why he created us. We are afraid that if we let someone know we are in trouble that they will judge, gossip, and let us know how we got ourselves into the mess we are in. We choose the safe route. We talk about the weather, how cute the kids are, the next promotion. Never the arguments, the suffering, the loneliness, the brokenness. Many of us fail to have meaningful relationships because of a safe talk.
• When we fail to be vulnerable our society suffers. You turn on the news there is rape, murder, child abuse, abuse of powers and so much dark. Kris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were killed by Eddie Ralph. I knew Eddie; he was a grade older than me and I didn’t talk with him that I can recall. His Spanish class was by my French class so I saw him frequently. I could have talked with him about Christ I choose not to. These were good people whose lives are scarred and ruined. I don’t blame myself for inaction but in theory if Eddie had a firm footing in Christ those lives would be different. There is a chance that those men would be alive and Eddie wouldn’t be declared insane. This story is written all over the news; people’s inaction towards others is wrong. It is easy to think someone else will take care of it, but what if they don’t?
• Living vulnerably helps us become whole hearted. We start to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. We practice gratitude, we start helping people through their trials. We start to get faith as small as a mustard seed because you pray without ceasing. We become more patient with God because our faith grows. We start to be more trusting because people have accepted us just as we are. We get a taste of righteousness even though we still sin. We come out of our guilty shaming prisons and experience joy, creativity, and peace.
• I have shared tidbits tonight; I didn’t know that I would use those examples when I started. I planned on being objective. This shows how our testimonies are a part of our vulnerability. They are essential to God and others. We need to be authentic for our light to shine. Had I been objective would this talk been as powerful? God tells us our testimonies need to be on our lips and we need an answer. Even if the answer is I don’t know. It is a great response because it’s an answer that requires God.
• As I close one thing that really encouraged me was this a phrase by Dr. Brown; vulnerability is the greatest measurement of courage we have. If you have ever worked anywhere you know that there are tasks no one wants to do so it doesn’t get done. We do this to people all the time. When we hide our vulnerability we are practicing cowardice. It is not easy. But it is real. It is worth it. Share your stories. Be vulnerable. Vulnerably equals courage.

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