The other week at church, I heard a talk about the importance of being able to open up and be vulnerable with each other. This has been a bit of a trending topic lately, and I remember it came up a lot in my New Wine discipleship course the other year. Now I have attended many Christian talks and discussions, but this one particularly stuck with me. So after a bit of journaling, and various conversations, I thought I’d share my reflections here.
To cut a long story short, the basic principle was that it’s important to be able to share with each other our insecurities and our shame so that our outer and inner worlds match more closely. Doing that is being authentic and real, and it strengthens our relationship with God and each other. And church is a safe place for it. Right?
This is the bit that challenged me. I have had many insecurities and worries in my life, and there are still some I’m afraid to talk about with most people. I want to believe I can safely be vulnerable in the Christian community. I want to stop being afraid. And it’s easy to say that we should be able to open up to each other about anything. But not all Christians are safe people to open up to, and I think we need to acknowledge that.
In the hours and days that followed, I asked a few friends what their thoughts were. As much as I’d like to hear that the church is a 100% secure, non-judgemental community, it was reassuring to hear people agree that it isn’t always. A close friend said that we shouldn’t have to be completely open with everyone, as long as we have someone. Another said that there are some things that are just between you and God. I think these are important points. On a side note, it also reminded me of how lucky I am to have people I can tell anything to. I’m not naming them all here and now, but I don’t take them for granted for a moment.
And lastly, my favourite point came from yet another friend I shared my thoughts with last week. Rather than feeling under pressure to risk sharing our deepest internal struggles, perhaps we could think about how to make our Christian circle a safe place for vulnerability. I completely agree. It’s not that I think we shouldn’t try to be open with each other when the time is right. We need intimacy. So while we acknowledge our struggles, perhaps we could stop and think about how to be that “safe person” someone else might need. We don’t know what another person is going through, and if we can try to understand from a place of compassion, it may be a step in the right direction.