Matthew 22:37-40 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.
The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
All truth is God’s truth. In her book Daring Greatly Brené Brown proposes that vulnerability transforms the way we live, love, parent, and even how we lead. As we gain the courage to open ourselves up to others, we experience that connection, love, and belonging that we all desire. Brown states that we live in a world of scarcity or a society whose nature is “never enough.” We never do enough to merit worth in other people’s eyes. We are never perfect enough in our appearance or status in our desire to impress people. This creates shame in our lives. We hide behind that shame, and that defeats our courage to be vulnerable.
In her chapter about the vulnerability armor, Brown expounds three shields we tend to put up and the remedies to those shields. The first shield is foreboding joy. We are always looking for the other shoe to drop. We tend to think if we are experiencing great joy in our lives, the circumstances will change, or it will be quickly taken away. Learn to experience joy in the ordinary moments; be thankful for what we have. That is the solution – to practice gratitude. Sports psychologist Dr. Kevin Elko made this statement: “If you lost everything you had today and then got it all back tomorrow, you would feel like the luckiest person in the world.” What does Philippians 4:4 say? Rejoice always.
Her second shield is perfectionism. I know nothing about perfectionism – Ha! Brené says the remedy is to “appreciate the cracks.” In our own lives we know we are not perfect. We know that God made us so that we would be in a relationship with and dependent upon Him. Think about the marriage relationship. Anne has great strengths and helps me in my weaknesses, and thankfully I have some strengths that encourage her. That causes us to love and depend on each other in the same way we love and depend on our Savior. As the theologian Rocky Balboa says, “Adrian has gaps; I have gaps; we fill gaps.”
The third shield she mentions is numbing. We put up vulnerability armor by constantly being busy or by addictions. Her solution: set boundaries and cultivate our spirit. Biblically I would say we need to know who we are and that the Holy Spirit is cultivating us to be more like Christ. Because of our union with Christ, we can set boundaries and be content. Let people see who we really are. Let people see where we have failed. Asking forgiveness and being real only increases credibility and accessibility. People will be drawn to us because of our openness.
I believe these concepts lead us to greater insight into who our God is and how to better love others. As we recognize our own vulnerabilities, it causes us to seek God in a greater way. It causes us to love others because they are like us — vulnerable, broken, hurting; experiencing pain, success, and joy. If we don’t love ourselves, then we hide behind those insecurities and shame. We must have a strong knowledge of who we are in Christ, recognize His blood covers a multitude of sins, so that we can then reach out and love other people.