Ski Slopes and Other Vulnerable Places
The wind snapped at my cheeks as we approached the top of the green ski slope, enhancing the tears that I was desperately trying to fight back. Only minutes before, I had been the champion of the practice ski slope on my first day of ski school. Carefully managing to “pizza” all the way down and trudging back to the top, I had practiced with the other 6 year olds until I was out of breath. All of a sudden I realized that the bunny slope was a mere bump in comparison to the monster of a mountain my parents suggested we try together. Panicked, I very luckily found a ride back down the mountain as I added my name to the short list of those who ride down a ski lift. NEVER AGAIN, I thought to myself.
What about you? Can you think of a time that you felt vulnerable? A time that your feelings were exposed like my cold cheeks at the top of that ski lift? Let me help: Merriam-Webster’s definition of vulnerability is “open to attack, harm or damage.” Whatever your situation, most of us remember those moments of being open to attack, harm, or damage and want to be as far from them as possible. By avoiding talking about subjects that might bring insecurities to light, by retreating to our comfort zones, by avoiding conflict, we protect ourselves from opportunities to be open to physical or emotional harm. Understandably so…those places are often wrought with fear and uncomfortable feelings.
I now have the privilege of getting to sit with clients and listen to issues close to their hearts, issues they may not choose to share with others due to the vulnerable nature of the topic at hand. And I am determined that there is power, there is healing, in speaking those things out loud- in that vulnerability. As I consider the idea of vulnerability this holiday, I am encouraged during the Advent season that God knows this same feeling. He knows what it is to risk. God, through His son Jesus, entered the world as a human, susceptible to pain, temptation, rejection and fear. He felt, He loved, He risked…in order to save. Is there anything more vulnerable than the simple act of
Brene Brown, author extraordinaire, says that “you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability”. Jesus experienced very human emotions and yet found the courage to walk to the cross for us. What a beautiful picture of bravery in the midst of vulnerability.
Over some time, I began to face my fear of ski slopes. By approaching a place of vulnerability and fear, it began to diminish, and, lo and behold, there was courage there.
In what ways might God be challenging you to be vulnerable before Him or others this Holiday season?