The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re still alive.
Truth is harder than a lie,
The dark seems safer than the light,
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide,
I’m a mess and so are you,
We’ve built walls nobody can get through,
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do,
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine,
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides,
And mercy’s waiting on the other side,
If we’re honest.
At some point, the two worlds of who we pretend to be and who we really are must collide. It is, however, better to let those two worlds collide rather than have everything snap under the tension of keeping them apart.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
The Power of Vulnerability, TED Talk, 2010
Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Society has taught us that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness—but it’s just the opposite. Vulnerability is the willingness to show up and be seen by others in the face of uncertain outcomes. There’s not a single act of courage that doesn’t involve vulnerability.
The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
This [brokenness] is what needs to be accepted. Unfortunately, this is what we tend to reject. Here the seeds of a corrosive self-hatred take root. This painful vulnerability is the characteristic feature of our humanity that most needs to be embraced in order to restore our human condition to a healed state.
The Heart’s Journey Home: A Quest for Wisdom, Ave Maria Press, 1992.
When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.
“I’ve made myself vulnerable
I’ve let myself care.
I’ve opened my firmly closed heart.
My safety is gone
It’s no longer there
My protection is falling apart.
Our hearts would be safe
Or our bodies protected from harm.
A moment can change
All we think that we have,
Hope will endure through the storm.
Troubling a Star
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.
Celebrating Christmas with Jesus: An Advent Devotional
We can only experience the true beauty of vulnerability when we’re courageous enough to crack open the fractures in our mask and allow the light to shine in.
Above all is the centrality of love at the heart of vulnerable faith. Vulnerability will thrive only where love abounds—a love that is generous, gracious, patient, compassionate, humble, curious, joyful, and full of hope. In the absence of fear and the bondage it inflicts on us, love will put down roots, grow, and extend its reach far beyond our expectations or natural capacity. Love we once reserved only for those closest to us can be offered even to those who would persecute us. Enemies are transformed into sisters and brothers and friends.
Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick
Do we honestly believe that the best witness we can have as Christians before a watching world is to show moral perfection? While that might convince some, our odds of pulling it off seem less than slim. In truth, the most compelling witness to our faith can be a willingness to humbly accept responsibility for our failings and seek to restore relationships at any cost.”
Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick
I have—found that the very feeling which has seemed to me most private, most personal and hence most incomprehensible by others, has turned out to be an expression for which there is a resonance in many other people.
Dorothy L. Sayers
“Listen, Harriet. I do understand. I know you don’t want either to give or to take … You don’t want ever again to have to depend for happiness on another person.”
“That’s true. That’s the truest thing you ever said.”
“All right. I can respect that. Only you’ve got to play the game. Don’t force an emotional situation and then blame me for it.”
“But I don’t want any situation. I want to be left in peace.”
Have His Carcase
If we want the advantages of love, then we must be willing to take the risks of love. And that requires vulnerability. Of course, we can refuse this path and trod another one devoid of openness. But the toll on such a road is extremely high.
Theophan the Recluse
To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within you.
C.S. Lewis indicated that if he wanted something easy and pain-free, he would have chosen a bottle of wine over Jesus. There is no question that biblical love leaves us more vulnerable. But this will not be the devastating vulnerability that comes with psychologically needing people. Christians need less and love more.
When People are Big and God is Small, P&R Publishing, 1997, p. 211.
Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.
Daring Greatly (p. 12). Penguin Publishing Group.
My friends tell me I have an intimacy problem, but they don’t really know me.
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
Ellen F. Davis
The mystery I wish to explore…is this: vulnerability as the condition, the enabling condition, for covenant relationship with God…Vulnerability, the capacity to be wounded—what does that mean for us who claim to be the body of Christ in the world?…Calling vulnerability a capacity means that it is something more than a negative… A capacity is a positive thing, a kind of strength.
“Vulnerability, the Condition of Covenant,” in Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hays, eds., The Art of Reading Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2003), 278.
The strangest thing happens when what we have most wanted to conceal is brought into the open. We don’t die. Instead, we often begin to heal.
Eternity Is Now In Session: A Radical Rediscovery of What Jesus Really Taught About Salvation, Eternity, and Getting to the Good Place (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2018), Kindle Electronic Version.
It’s a strange truth that I admire vulnerability in other people, but I don’t want to have to be vulnerable myself.
I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2017), Kindle Electronic Version.
Vulnerability is not weakness. . . . It is the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change.
2012 TED Talk
Read with a vulnerable heart. Expect to be blessed in the reading. Read as one awake, one waiting for the beloved. Read with reverence.
A Tree Full of Angels Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1991, p.53.
Over time, I have learned it’s easier to get help if you look like you don’t really need it.
We often become offensive to respectable types when we enter into other people’s suffering and brokenness, or divulge our own.
Captain Renault (Claude Rains)
[With a gun pointed at his heart] “That is my least vulnerable spot.”
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