As we mature into adulthood, we gain not only physical and emotional strength, but power over our lives. This opens up new opportunities, and options never available to us before.
Distinguishing between the feeling of vulnerability and actual vulnerability becomes crucial.
“…Do I need to better protect myself from a danger in the environment? Or do I need to muster the courage to face something that isn’t going to kill me and that can help me grow stronger and more confident? Often we can conflate the two…Once we determine what our vulnerable feelings are about, we can thus make a decision to protect ourselves from real danger, or face an opportunity for personal growth by facing real feelings, emotions and needs…”
-“Stephen” of Therapy Glasgow, https://therapyglasgow.com/2020/04/26/the-vulnerable-self/
In an effort to protect ourselves, we may be tempted to erect emotional barriers, barricades against further abuse. This is only natural. To the extent that we re-establish safe boundaries, it is all to the good.
But we must remember that barricades can become traps for those inside. Inadvertently, we may cut ourselves off from the opportunities now accessible to us, and the very relationships which might help us to heal.
This is precisely what the Beast in the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast” does. He shuts himself off from the world. Ironically, it is only when the Beast allows himself to be vulnerable to Belle that he becomes fully human.
Make no mistake. We must expect a learning curve. There is every possibility we will share too much of ourselves, too soon, and with the wrong people.
Growth can be painful. But, in the long run, it is well worthwhile.
Jars of Clay
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor. 4: 7 NIV).
There is a passage in Scripture which compares us to “jars of clay”. Though they may appear durable, clay jars are surprisingly delicate. They can easily crack, chip, or break.
Human beings, too, can crack and break. Our bodies have limits. We are weakened by stress. We tire and age. If we rely on our own strength, we are bound to fail.
But if instead we embrace our vulnerability, and trust our lives to God, we can live fearlessly – confident in the knowledge that we are loved.
Part 1 in this series was posted 7/12/20.
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