It was our third day on a trip to Africa. We were checking into what would be hotel for the next 4 nights and it was first time I felt a bit vulnerable on this trip. Looking around at the construction going, recognizing the color of my skin, hair, and eye color, I felt vulnerable. For some reasons, there was something extremely good about it. Emotionally I felt as if I was in a position to more appropriately receive what I would experience over the next several days.
I visually saw vulnerable people everywhere I went. In the communities we visited, many were sick merely because of the water they were drinking. Many were vulnerable because they did not trust outside groups merely because of the oppression they had face from others. Many were vulnerable because they were malnourished because their parents didn’t know how to help them be healthy. For many, this happened because of no choice of their own. For others, some had made deliberate choices that placed them in their own postures of vulnerability.
This is where I began to discover how I could identify in some small way with these incredible people. For many of us, we have become vulnerable because of decisions we have made that has contributed to the greater brokenness in our world. I’ve done that. There have also been experiences we have had that we have put us in positions of vulnerability merely because life happens. I’ve experienced that too. A lot of the time hurts and hurts bad. A lot of the time we hold deep regret and feel paralyzed with no feelings of hope. I’ve been there too. Yet, recognizing our NEED for vulnerability does place us in a posture to receive God’s grace and goodness through the means of God himself or through God revealing himself to us through another.
I’m learning that postures of vulnerability are crucial in leadership. It’s risky and hard, but necessary. My wife often jokingly says, “I want to tell you something and when you listen to God, let me know.” It usually means we’ll be doing whatever she suggests, but it usually is an invitation to a posture of vulnerability.
I have received so much from these postures. Being a foster parent is difficult at times. I don’t changing diapers when I think my days of doing that are over. I don’t like being disturbed for sleep early in the morning. It’s more time to carve space for visitations with families that exhibit dysfunction. Yet, my participation in just this activity helps me understand Jesus so much more.
Having a son with cancer for the third time and just finishing his last chemo treatment has put our family in a posture of vulnerability outside of our choosing. This posture has allowed us to receive visually the face of Jesus through so many people. It gives Jesus more validity to me because of so many people.
May we continue to learn the power of postures of vulnerability together so we can visually be and receive God’s goodness today, tomorrow, and forever.
You are loved.
Photo Credit to Hilary Hilpert