Vulnerability is frightening.
I shared quite a few of my thoughts on vulnerability a couple of months ago in the context of covenant at Remedy Church. This teaching on shame was aided greatly by the work of Brenè Brown, whose TEDx Talk in June of 2010 in Houston, Texas has been viewed over one-million times. I also believe her book on shame and vulnerability (Daring Greatly) is one of the most personally impactful books I’ve read over the past few years.
Shame is destructive. And vulnerability is truly frightening.
The two-man band, Twenty-One Pilots, has a line in one of their songs that poetically illuminates the isolation and fruitlessness of shame::
under siege from accusations.
in one-way conversations.
Shame creates coldness and distance in relationship (relationship with our Creator, relationship with others, relationship with ourselves). And shame often feels as if our hearts, our thoughts, our hopes have been hi-jacked. There’s a desperation within, as we wrestle with who we are… and who we are meant to be. A desperation that seems as if we are “under siege”.
And yet… we have each believed the lies about our identity.
And yet… we all struggle with “one-way conversations” that lead us willingly into relational cul-de-sacs.
And yet… we need to remember what is at stake when we participate in shaming ourselves.
When it comes to shame, what is at risk is nothing less than our identity.
So I invite you to join me in a bit of an exercise::
When I have found myself “under siege” by shaming accusations and “one-way conversations” in recent months… I have developed the practice of simply whispering the words “cerebral thunder” as a verbal prayer of disbelieving the lies… and a reminder that I have been invited into a story that is much larger than paralysis by the fear of vulnerability.
I don’t want a skewed view of my identity. I want neither a self-inflated, nor a self-deflated, vision of myself. I don’t want to speak for the sake of speaking. I don’t want to believe for the sake of believing. I don’t want to inherit my name from shame that thunders.
I don’t want “cerebral thunder” to be the theme of my story.
I desire an identity of self that is intimately connected to a Creator, a family, a community, a city. I want to be known for the harmony, adventure, and generosity that I live in community with those I love most. I desire to hold tightly to promises that are so much more than thundering emptiness.
There was this guy named Jesus, who gathered with His closest followers on the night He was betrayed, and promised…
I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.
+ John 14:18-20 (the Message)
Today… may we remember that we are not left orphaned by our mistakes and brokenness.
Today… may we be released into the joy of frightening vulnerability.
Today… may we disbelieve the “cerebral thunder”.