The world speaks about being self-made. Kids are told that they can be whatever they want to be. We’re taught to ‘suck it up’. There is a bit of a culture that suggests that vulnerability is a bad thing. It’s in the church too. People can seem shocked if you answer anything other than ‘fine’ when they ask how your doing. Some Christians seem afraid of emotions. Many Christians are afraid or sceptical of counselling too. But why?
One of the reasons, I think, is because some think that being vulnerable is bad. Vulnerability can often be thought of as something weak and something that can only bring hurt and pain. But vulnerability can be good.
I recently started counselling. To be honest, it’s something I should have done years ago. In the process I’m learning many things but two probably stick out the most; 1) it was my pride that was preventing me from going to counselling before, and 2) being vulnerable is both scary and good.
As a pastor, it’s strange to be on the other side. Normally I’m the one listening and giving advice. Normally I’m the one who is giving care to those in need. Sitting on the other side is strange.
It’s strange because you lay your heart and mind bare. You spill all the beans and hope for the wisdom to know how to healthily put it all back together again. You open up to someone, that you don’t know that well, in order to help yourself.
Add to that the mixed reactions of others. The judgmental looks. The awkward shuffling because people think you must be ‘messed up’ to be in counselling.
Going to counselling is nothing to be ashamed of. I wish I would have done it years ago. Because I’ve realised that being vulnerable, in the right circumstances and with the right people, is a good thing. You get challenged on your thought process. You reflect on past experiences and their continued impact on your life. You think through both the good and the bad so that you can be as healthy as you can be.
Vulnerability is good because it reminds you that you are weak. Vulnerability is good because it reminds you that you can’t ‘fix’ anything. Vulnerability is good because it pushes you more into the arms of a faithful, trustworthy, loving God who calls people to cast their burdens on him.
Pastor and Christian, please know that vulnerability is good and that the Lord has gifted the Church, and the world, professionals who by God’s grace can help us grow in our dependence on Him as we become vulnerable. Vulnerability is good.