Advent and Vulnerability

I’ve approached Advent this year with my fists clenched, if I’m honest.

It seems like too much of a risk to be vulnerable.  I’m teary-eyed, but don’t exactly know what I need.

Dependence seems scary.

Yet as I pay attention to my fear, my anxiety, and my tears, I know that I’m being invited to trust, to let my guard down just a little bit more, to let myself feel what I need.

It’s been a brutal three years of loss.  Loss of health, jobs, friendships, a stable place to call home.

I found deep resources within myself as I learned to survive, as I learned to rely on the help of strangers.  There is a strength and a bravery in me that I didn’t know I had.

Yet as I’ve slowly been piecing my life back together, I’m coming to terms that I experienced deep wounds of isolation-and it will take time to heal.

I wasn’t made just to be strong, but also vulnerable.  I wasn’t made just to survive, but to heal and pay attention to my life.

I’m made to be deeply dependent, even as I risk my fears of being a burden, of being misunderstood, of being ignored, of not being believed.

As I acknowledge my humanity, of what I can’t handle on my own, I will feel free.  I will honor who I truly am, and honor those I meet.

Part of why this journey is so hard is because many people are not vulnerable.  I haven’t had many models of ongoing healthy vulnerability.  I know that I need to receive help, and have the relationship be more one-sided.  And yet many times I long for mutual vulnerability.

baby-jesus-sleeping

As I turn my thoughts toward Advent, I thought of a phrase I grew up hearing,

“Jesus doesn’t need you, but he wants you.”

While I understand what this phrase is trying to say, we often make light of Christ’s humanity.  We are scared of Christ as baby, because we feel more safe it He’s powerful.

Christ did need people, born as a baby, completely dependent.  He would have died without the safety and nourishment of his family.

Maybe when he said, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to little children,” he knew what he was saying.

As adults, it’s our journey to return to a place of unwavering trust, like a child.  To be free.  To be unashamed. To give because we have no reason not to.

Advent is an invitation to vulnerability and dependence-to echo Christ’s first cries of “I need help.”

Moments of vulnerability are simple, yet profound.

Terrifying, yet peaceful.

Tear-filled, yet silent.

I know this journey is worthwhile, and yet I need to remember again.

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