My parents transferred me to a new school between my third and fourth grade years. Leading up to that point, I had been a fairly shy kid; I didn’t talk to other people until they spoke to me first. But it worked out well because I ended up with a group of a few friends who were all more outgoing than I was; I seemed to be drawn to the social skills they had which I lacked.
Just when I was getting comfortable, my parents told me I’d be attending a new school, which terrified me. I felt I had finally found my stride with my friend group and couldn’t bear the thought of starting all over again. Ever had one of those moments?
On my first day, the teacher began introducing each student one by one. As the process unfolded, I realized there were a ton of new students in my class that year; I wasn’t the only one who was out of my element. I was relieved and struck with newfound confidence and thought, “I don’t have to be the same shy girl that I’ve been up to this point. I can start fresh here and make as many friends as I want.”
It was an exciting and freeing idea. At recess, I went up to every girl who wasn’t with a big group and introduced myself. Every person seemed happy I had approached them. It was my first day and I already had more friends than at my last school, all because I simply put myself out there. This was my first life-lesson on the benefits of allowing myself to be vulnerable — and I’m still learning.
God has blessed each of us with unique gifts that are meant to be used to serve others. And discovering how God wants to use us is a ton of fun.
It’s no secret that vulnerability gets a bad rap in today’s culture. From our dating lives to the work world, many of us adopt the fear that if we show all of our cards, we’ll get burned. Brené Brown’s TED talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most-watched TED talks of all time. Clearly, as a society we are starting to understand we need help in this department.
As I’ve become closer to Jesus I’ve learned that being vulnerable doesn’t just help improve our relationships with others — it actually opens a world of opportunities. Put simply, being vulnerable is more fun.
The Bible tells us to live in harmony with one another and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But it also teaches us that embracing our vulnerability will lead us to lean on God’s strength as we attempt to serve Him. It also speaks to us something about vulnerability: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
The most important person we should all learn to be vulnerable with is Jesus. Notice the dynamic God created between Himself and His creation: He doesn’t force us to have a relationship with Him. Jesus made Himself vulnerable to us, so that WE might make ourselves vulnerable with Him and others.
It’s obviously intimidating to show our true selves, not knowing how others will react. But when we bring God into the picture, the dynamic shifts entirely. We can invite God to do His work through us in the lives of the people around us one day at a time by thinking of other people as our mission, rather than obstacles to overcome.
Putting this concept into practice makes interactions with other people somewhat of an adventure. It becomes less about us, and more about Him. This applies to all of us, whether we’re outgoing or the shyest person in the room. God has blessed each of us with unique gifts that are meant to be used to serve others. And discovering how God wants to use us is a ton of fun.