“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown
I am of the opinion that being honest about our frailty, our weakness, our vulnerabilities is part of what makes us strong in the end. Embracing our brokenness is an element of what actually makes us whole. Admitting that we don’t ‘have it all together’ is actually a crucial part of what God may want to do to ‘bring it all together’. When you live under Grace, strength and competency is not a requirement. #thankGod
Why pretend? Why put on a false-self just to please others and their judgment of you? Why show others an imposter that’s not the real you? If they do return the affirmation you crave they still aren’t affirming the real you; just the imposter you put out there for them to accept. If it’s not you, it won’t satisfy, you will be left in the same discontentment of your folly. It’s not strong to pretend, it’s a fearful reaction to potential rejection.
You want to be a strong leader? Act powerfully, and it starts with living with, in and through your own vulnerability. People aren’t looking for leaders who play ‘make believe’ about their real selves, they are looking for the compelling experience of raw authenticity and it’s a rare thing. People need a leader they can relate to but are living beyond them so that they can lead them to a land they’ve not yet been. If you are pretending about your own self, as Brennan Manning puts it: ‘you are handing out travel brochures to places you’ve never been.’
There’s a beauty and a strength in brokenness. It requires inner strength and confidence to admit weakness, to risk rejection, to put our real selves ‘out there’. It requires that you are rooted in another place than the affection of your followers, it requires that your identity is rooted somewhere else than in the acceptance of others. It’s a confidence in who you are and who you belong to no matter what the crowds say. It’s a place of raw, holy and Broken Strength.
If you learn to live there, there is nothing that can move you. Nothing. Anchor down in Broken Strength.
“Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.” – Henri Nouwen
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown
Been reading Brene’ Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” off and on and I come across gems like this quote above. Typically leadership and vulnerability are not seen as good bed-fellows. Leaders are supposed to be perceived by their followers as unflappable and strong, never at risk of losing it and having no identifiable weakness. If that is your definition or aim of leadership, then welcome to the world of fairytales and you’re the main character. However, if you are wiling to have the courage to embrace your vulnerability as opportunity, then you can also be the Alice to jump in the hole and see just how deep the wonderland goes. It’s very possible (even likely) that the break-through you are looking for is on the other side of vulnerability, not around it. Embracing your vulnerability may be the key to unlock your creative impulses, necessity is the mother of invention.
As a personal example, 13 years ago next month, I planted a different kind of church called Ordinary Community that came out of a very vulnerable place for me. People often ask me why or how I did it, how I left paid vocational ministry to do something I didn’t know if anyone else was doing. What I can tell you is that I didn’t do it out of a place of strength, stability or security. It wasn’t a full-proof business plan, it wasn’t tested first, it wasn’t conventional or popular. I was scared to death. I did it out of desperation, brokenness, fear, longing and a little touch of vision. Through unintentionally embracing my vulnerability, I found the spiritual hope and home I was looking for. In fact Ordinary Community has birthed innovation, creativity and change hundreds of times since through similar bouts of vulnerability.
We do not have membership, you opt in out of a place of need. What we’ve learned together is that we don’t have a clue. But in having the courage to embrace our vulnerabilities together, we are not alone and that spurs us on to deeper experiences of the truth of who we are and why we are here to begin with. I’m finding the truth as I journey with a close-knit community of Christ-followers that I couldn’t get in a system of pre-determined strategies I used to call church. My only advice is to have the courage to embrace your vulnerability, it may be the key to unlocking the truth and hope you are looking for.