Do You Have an Aversion to Vulnerability?
A preface: this post is more personal than normal. As W.B. Yeats once famously wrote,
“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”My wife Michelle and I have been on an interesting journey this year beginning the process of foster care. We had filmed a video about a month ago telling our story and this weekend we attended our first training. We are now praying about the ages/situations of children we will make ourselves open to receive from the state. When we tell people about what we are doing we get some pretty crazy looks. If it helps, know that we give ourselves crazy looks during these conversations. The specfics of this weekend’s discussion over dinner had an extra dose of craziness. Michelle made an interesting observation I had never considered. We first pursued fostering two months after we moved to a rental house (which we were less than excited to move into). That’s a different story, but we never set out to rent. We had lived in two different houses we owned before that. But Michelle commented that living in a house which is obviously not ours made it easier to embrace children that might not be ours either. Even as she said it I thought about how vulnerable that sounded. Vulnerability isn’t something we normally choose.The american dream involves gaining as much control over your surroundings as humanly possible. Buy a car that’s fun, worry-free, and makes you feel good. Buy your own house and turn it into your castle. Set aside large figures for retirement and a safe future. The list goes on and on. None of these things are necessarily wrong, but they distance us from the reality of ourÂ vulnerability. If we aren’t careful, we quickly convince ourselves we actually aren’t vulnerable. It takes economic meltdowns like we’ve seen the last few years to help us snap out of our false realities of security. The american dream brings with it an aversion toÂ vulnerability. The more I thought about Michelle’s comment, and the more I connected it to our willingness to include vulnerable children (who will make our family more vulnerable), the more I realize we need to lean into vulnerability. We need to admit when we’ve allowed ourselves to feel too strong of a sense of security. For those of who follow Jesus Christ, it is returning to the core of our relationship with Him. Even though we talk about accepting Jesus, the reality isÂ we need Him. This messages resonates with the core of the Gospel.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27Without thinking about it, we can naturally spend all our efforts working to remove any trace of vulnerability in our lives. But it’s an illusion. It will take intentional effort and choice to undo this. A rental house helped our family gain a better awareness of our vulnerability. What could be the trigger for you? What areas of your life are tightly in your control?Â What are some ways you could step out and choose vulnerability? Don’t wait for an economic or personal meltdown to embrace the opportunities that vulnerability brings. Vulnerability is reality.
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