Humility and Vulnerability

Humility and vulnerability are two of the most difficult traits to hone and display to others. Both seem to indicate that we must overcome the fear of how others see us: OUR FEAR of judgment! All of us present a façade to the world and to become humble and vulnerable requires we allow others to penetrate that wall and look inside of us. However, to truly become one with God, we must be both. Humble (right with God) in our position with God and others, and willing to admit our vulnerabilities so we can overcome them to the greatest extent possible.

On Facebook, I constantly see posts about people protecting themselves from the hurt of others. I see people talking about how they are setting boundaries and will prevent such hurt in the future. The hard truth is that we cannot prevent hurt in the future but only try to avoid those who have proven themselves not worthy of our “intimate” friendship and knowing our deepest thoughts, fears, and the core of our being. There are only a few who qualify to be in that group, and discernment helps us know who those few special people are…

A decade+ ago I removed myself from secular books unless they were self-help/health improvement books. My daughter introduced me to Amish romance books years ago as entertainment when I am driving or flying long distances. For years that’s all they were, (entertainment) but recently, I started learning a lot about human nature by listening to a lot of these books and understanding that no matter the human intention, nor the social norms and expectations, ALL humans struggle with the same issues.

Examples of this are that even in Amish communities, the people who get the most respect are those who are most powerful, successful, and wealthy. Interesting, considering that the Amish communities were established to put God, and only God, first and foremost. Money and power are to be considered sinful. Yet despite their upbringing and mandates, deep down inside, they still have the same questions, problems, sins, and issues as does the secular world that surrounds them. The only difference is that within these tight communities, these thoughts and challenges dealing with life must be hidden. Putting forth their best “church face” they must pretend to trust God implicitly (without questions) and forgive everyone of ALL sins. These externally pious people fail at this just as ALL HUMANS fail at it. It is called “the human condition” and results from the Adamic seed from which we all came. So how do the Amish tie to this sermon, humility and vulnerability? Many of them fail at it just as we do. There are no “perfect” groups or sects. We are all human…

Understanding that few humans conquer the need to hide their weaknesses and are unable to publicly show their vulnerabilities is the beginning of changing these normal, human traits. Once we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable to others (even when it often causes pain) and show humility to others (even when it makes us feel weaker than other people), we start receiving the healing that God offers those who will “expose” their true selves to the world. We must be introspectively honest that we are all flawed, and should accept that regardless of “judgment” and sometimes ridicule from others. The old saying that “hurt people hurt others” is true and the only solution is to become immune to the hurt caused by feeling the aforementioned weakness and powerlessness when you want to see yourself as perfect. When we can finally accept ourselves as “perfectly” flawed. In other words, see ourselves as God sees us: perfect just as we are made.

In my life, I have always acted as the strong oak that can weather every storm and withstand tornado winds without being blown off my feet. This has resulted in me “flying around aimlessly” with no compass and landing hard on the ground. Ouch! God has taught me I am nothing without His strength. I can do nothing on my own. (Philippians 4:13 and John 15:5) Being the so-called “strong/super person,” showing my soft underside (vulnerabilities), and being humble (which looks like weakness to many people) has been difficult. Becoming the vision of what God sees as strength instead of my flawed human vision of strength has taken work, time, introspective evaluation of my behavior, and observance of the behavior of others. It has taken a change; in the way I view myself and little to no concern about how others view me. How God sees me is what counts. So what does God want to see when He looks at me? Why is being vulnerable and humble important? Why does God insist that we fellowship with, share, and depend on others? Why does He tell us that others are more important than ourselves?

My first answer would be that you cannot truly love and accept love without these traits. It also protects us from hurt, which enables us to continue to give and serve despite the trespasses of others. The Lord’s Prayer says “forgive our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others.” This is one indication that God considers forgiveness an extremely important part of being His child. We MUST forgive others and that is only accomplished through a position of humility. Without recognizing our vulnerability of being easily hurt and wanting to be defensive, lashing out in anger at others, it is impossible to open ourselves to others. Humility gives us the gift of considering ourselves as servants to each other, enabling us to consider the opinions, hurts, and fears of others before we react to their behavior.

Philippians 2:3 – “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

There are also many personal benefits to being vulnerable to others by expressing your thoughts, fears, and feelings. First, your stress is greatly reduced because you are not holding on to anger, frustration, and fear because you don’t want to appear weak. Only a weak person would consider honest emotion weakness. It also strengthens our relationship with God because we can openly, and without fear of retribution, repent of all our sins. We can talk to God and work out those issues in our lives that are causing us problems. By allowing the soft, secret underside of ourselves to be exposed, there is nothing to hide, therefore no one can shame us. As I always say, I answer only to God. I confess my deepest thoughts and regressions to Him; therefore “man” has no power over me. Lastly, being “vulnerable” to others initiates sympathy and empathy, so we can share our problems as a community instead of trying to be an “island” in this tumultuous world. It creates understanding and understanding enables love to flow freely. Love creates a healing environment, so it’s a win-win.

Humility is especially important to God. It certainly can be uncomfortable to allow others to “be right” when we want to prove our point. However, to God humility proves you understand where you are in the “pecking” order of the universe and allows you to put Him first, His creation second and yourself third. Obviously, this is a very simplistic explanation of humility, but understanding that it is hard to be understanding, sympathetic, and loving when you are more focused on being the “top dog” helps us truly embrace WHY God wants us to be humble.

As I have learned, if I won’t humble myself, He will humble me. Having had to pick myself up off the ground, brush myself off, tend to my bruises, and re-think my actions has happened often enough that I prefer to approach everything as the Bible tells me and that is “others are more important than myself. This attitude adds light to our world and makes me feel happier and more helpful in that I am trying to help people rather than compete with them.

Although this is a very deep and difficult subject, I pray I have initiated your thoughts and actions toward being more open/honest to others and submitting yourself to “meekness” rather than aggression in your thoughts and actions. God says “The meek shall inherit the earth” and He means those who are humble and are servants will triumph in His Kingdom. (Matthew 5:5 - God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth) He doesn’t mean that we let people walk all over us and take advantage of our good intentions and deeds, but rather we become open, emotionally freed, and become His children with an attitude of serving others over self. Meekness in the Bible is humility, not weakness.

(Synonyms for meekness are mildness, modesty, docility, and humility. A definition of meekness in the Bible is: patient and hopeful endurance)

May God bless your path, may the Bible be your guide, and may you consider what I have presented to you today as a way to improve your life and the lives of others.

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Love, hugs, and blessings, Lisa ><>

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