Vulnerability was God’s idea.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. – Philippians 2:5-8 MSG
I read that thought in Jennene Eklund’s Overthrow. She wrote that the incarnation of Christ was God’s greatest act of love and vulnerability.
We cannot experience being truly loved by God, or even truly loved by another, until we let ourselves be vulnerable. When we come clean about our past abuses, hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, anxieties, failures and successes, then and only then, can we know real love and real peace. When we are honest with God about the road we’ve traveled, we find Grace. He forgives. He takes our burdens on himself. He heals and restores. When we share honestly with another person, we are set free. That’s when we truly offer ourselves, our whole heart, up to God to love and truly loved back. When we allow ourselves to be transparent, with God and with another person, we are opening ourselves up to the His healing and His peace.
When we are deeply hurt, betrayed, abused, or rejected by someone we trusted, someone that was supposed to love us, it’s confusing and scary and all out of order. Whether it was a parent, a spouse, a big brother, a close friend, an authority figure, the result is the same. Deep lasting hurt that creates chaos and disorder in our hearts and minds. What should be safe, isn’t. Trust has been broken. Words or abuse can’t be taken back. Things are not as they should be.
And it’s not our fault.
We can’t control the way others hurt us. We can’t change their choices. We can’t change the choices we made in response. Hurting people hurt people. We can forgive and be forgiven, though. We can set boundaries that stop the cycle of hurt. God knows what happened. He knows what led us to respond the way we did. Unchecked, they can lead us to repeat the offense ourselves, to our own broken relationships, financial struggles, substance abuse, or crime. At the very least, we guard that wound from further hurt. We might move on, but the next person we get close to won’t get all of us. They’ll get the part that we give them, but the place that was hurt stays hidden. We can never fully experience the love God intended us to have as long as we are hiding a part of ourselves.
God already knows. He knows what happened to us, and he knows what we’ve done. The only way to heal is to be honest with God, and be honest with each other. We don’t have to tell everyone. We have to tell someone that we can trust. We have to allow God to pry our fingers off of the wound we’ve protected, and let His light shine into the darkest corners of our heart. With the lights on, completely vulnerable and open, we can trust God to finally make us whole again.
You are not alone. Others have made it through hard times, and so will you. If you’ve found a way to accept and even enjoy yourself, will you tell us about it? It’s in our struggles that we really come to know God and know ourselves.
Your story can bring hope to someone today.