Before I confessed my sins, I kept it all inside; my dishonesty devastated my inner life, causing my life to be filled with frustration, irrepressible anguish, and misery.  The pain never let up, for your hand of conviction was heavy on my heart. My strength was sapped, my inner life dried up like a spiritual drought within my soul.
Psalm 32:3-4 TPT
How do you feel about vulnerability?
Have you adopted a wrong view of vulnerability, seeing it as something to be avoided at all costs because it’s negative and leads to regret?
If this is our view of being vulnerable, we will keep our inside life hidden, which will lead to consistent feelings of frustration, anguish, and misery. We will focus on our outward appearance, thinking it will bring security while neglecting our inner life (2 Corinthians 5:11-12 TPT).
However, spirituality and the Bible can help us redefine what being vulnerable should look like, and show us how it can lead to great power.
Read more: When Church is Boring: Why We Lose Interest in Spirituality
For the vast majority of my life, I’ve avoided vulnerability like the plague. I grew up thinking I needed to maintain my composure by keeping things close to the vest and not letting people know how things really affected me. Yet, as this scripture says, the dishonesty of living that way “devastated my inner life.”
Because I’m constantly under duress from the stress and anxiety that comes from insecurity, I am often unable to enjoy life and relationships. This can make life feel exhausting. Thankfully, the Bible shows us another way to live, through redefining what vulnerability really is.
Pause and reflect
- How has your personal definition of vulnerability led to hiding parts of your inner life?
Vulnerability makes you powerful
“ But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.
 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment-when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ-I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT
Paul was eager to get rid of what he saw as a weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:8). But God wanted to teach him that Paul’s weakness was actually a portal to God’s power.
Rather than allowing his weaknesses to defeat him, Paul chose to admit and embrace his weaknesses. This enabled God to use him for immense impact on those around him.
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I have lived a lot of my life being frustrated, discouraged, or embarrassed by my weaknesses because I have believed they would keep me from achieving the goals or building the friendships I desire.
I have often tried to avoid, fix, or perform my way out of my weaknesses because I viewed them as a reason for God and others to reject me. This has led to a lot of fear, anxiety, and insecurity of what others think of me and my performance.
Instead, God wants me and each one of us to see the possibilities of what he can do through our lives when we learn how to be vulnerable. By admitting and embracing our weaknesses, we can choose to rely on his power instead of our own.
Pause and reflect
- What weaknesses or insecurities have you been avoiding?
Vulnerability leads to clarity
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.  Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.”
Hebrews 7:25-26 NIV
Hebrews 7 tells us that Jesus is able to save us completely and always lives to intercede for us. That means we don’t have to be afraid to be vulnerable about our sins, mistakes, and failures.
Sin isn’t a scorecard on our worth. But when we view sin this way, we won’t be willing to see it, let alone admit it to God or other people.
Read more: Don’t Forget God: 5 Surprising Symptoms of Godlessness
In actuality, sin is an indication that we have needs we haven’t taken to God. Perhaps we need relief from fear, or reassurance that we are loved.
If we don’t take these needs to God by praying and listening to what he says in his Word, we’ll turn to sin to try to get these needs met. Vulnerability leads to clarity because when we are vulnerable about our sin we will better understand our deeper heart needs.
This scripture reassures us that once we identify our needs, Jesus is able to completely meet them.
A sin I’ve consistently struggled with but hate admitting is pride. I respond with pride as easily as someone breathes. It’s become second nature to me; I do it without thinking. My fear of vulnerability keeps me distant and detached from the people around me.
Underneath my pride is a deep need to be accepted and a fear that I won’t be. When I’m aware of this and vulnerable with God about my need to be accepted, I’m much more secure and calm in my relationships.
Pause and reflect
- What are the needs that you have in your life that —when unmet— lead you to turn to sin?
Vulnerability leads to humility
He took Peter, Jacob, and John with him. However, an intense feeling of great sorrow plunged his soul into deep sorrow and agony.  And he said to them, “My heart is overwhelmed and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
 Then he walked a short distance away, and overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.
Matthew 26:37-39 TPT
Jesus shows us that there’s great power in vulnerability. He wasn’t afraid to admit that he needed his friends, nor was he afraid to admit need for God in that same moment. His vulnerability led to humility.
Jesus was also honest about what he wanted. And in his honest vulnerability, God’s will for him became clear. Jesus had the humility to choose and trust God’s will over his own.
When I’m emotionally honest and let down with God, I often want him to take sides with me and give me what I want. I can think that my “vulnerability” should be rewarded, and if it’s not, I’m prone to get cynical and embittered.
Yet, as we look at Jesus, our vulnerability with God should lead to humility. When we’re vulnerable with him, we can see God’s will and should decide to believe in and trust it with our future, relationships, schooling/career, and more.
Pause and reflect
- When you are vulnerable with God, does his will become clear to you?
- Do you have enough trust in God to know that choosing his will is what’s best for you and others?
Vulnerability leads to security
Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain.
Psalm 139:23 VOICE
Vulnerability with God helps us discover and be secure with who we really are.
When we trust and give him complete access to our hearts with no dark corners (Luke 11:36 NLT), he uncovers our real selves to us – not just the person we think people want us to be, but the person we are meant to be.
This intimacy and understanding lead to security and confidence, which helps us overcome our fear of being vulnerable.
For as long as I can remember, I have strived to be a superstar, dead set on proving to everyone that I’m “somebody.” Yet, after going through a tumultuous year where I’ve turned to God with a greater need than ever before, I have learned something new about myself.
My attributes are better suited for being part of a team and creating camaraderie rather than personal superstardom. As a result, I find myself far more secure, confident, and calm, and I am able to enjoy my relationships.
Pause and reflect
- What new discovery about yourself is God waiting to reveal to you through vulnerability?
- What areas of your life do you have the hardest time allowing yourself to be vulnerable in?
Vulnerability doesn’t have to be scary or avoided when we understand how it brings us closer to God and other people.
God works powerfully when we are vulnerable, helping us see his power in our lives, giving us clarity about our needs, and leading us to discover his plans for our lives.