Why Vulnerably Vibrant Isn't an Oxymoron
Imagine. An innocent lamb surrounded by vicious wolves. Tormented day and night by their circling and snarling. No where to run or hide. Exposed and targeted. Prowling closer and closer toward the vulnerable lamb - until they...
Vulnerable. A quick search in Webster's Dictionary and you get the definition "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage." Not that looking this up convinced me, but thinking about that really doesn't make being vulnerable sound like something I want to be. Like A lamb surrounded by wolves. I don't think so.
The Big Lie
But what if I said that Webster lied - or at least didn't tell the whole story. What if there was a completely other side to vulnerability that's not disclosed in that definition. One that doesn't look like the poor lamb among wolves. But one that sends the wolves running.
A Reason Not an Excuse
Let me explain. The lamb is vulnerability. The wolves, well, they are things in the world that prey on it.
The world can be such a harsh and cruel place. And for whatever reason whether it be a difficult childhood, ill treatment from a parent or peers, a traumatic life event, self insecurities, or even just misunderstanding, we learn to protect ourselves from the wolves. We learn to hide who we authentically are in an effort to avoid attack. We learn that being vulnerable is bad. In one sense, this is natural. A survival mechanism. But in the process we inadvertently hurt ourselves. We shut out all that has or could damage us and we end up damaging who we are as a human being, who we are as a person. Through our observation, education, or experience, the world has taught us that being who we are isn't safe.
BUT we were created for so much more than protective walls and never ending performances. We were created for authentic, vulnerable connection.
And that's why there has to be another side to vulnerable.
The Mighty Protector
Personally, along my journey of faith and healing, I discovered that vulnerability was - and still is sometimes - my biggest fear. I think we all, at some point, can relate to that. I was constantly performing both on and off the stage, desperately trying to protect myself from life's wolves. However, the more I prayed and the more I grew, the more I realized a lamb is no match for a hungry wolf. And here's the kicker, it doesn't have to be.
I realized I have a mighty Protector who created me to be authentically who I am even if that means to be vulnerable. A Protector more powerful and more perfect than I can even comprehend. No amount of my running or performing could protect me the way the great Shepherd protects His lamb. So I let Him.
And something beautiful happened.
I began to live - more vibrant than I'd ever lived before. I began to see myself and my circumstances in a different light. Slowly but surely I started to feel more safe being myself. I didn't feel powerless and drained, but full of energy and life. Full of His vibrance.
It's Not an Oxymoron
And so now I know, it can be scary to allow yourself to be vulnerable - the world and its wolves do that to us, and I still have a long way to go. But I truly believe we are called to live vulnerably. Not the helplessly tormented lamb kind of vulnerable. But the kind of vulnerable that relies on the mighty Protector. The armed with vulnerability kind of vulnerable. And when we have the courage to do that we become vibrant. Vulnerably Vibrant.