One of my friends told me how she was concerned that I wasn’t vulnerable. We listened to Brene Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” together so that I could understand her better.
Whether or not I am, I’m not sure that I can accurately judge, but I do know that I was very irritated at first that she was suggesting that I wasn’t “vulnerable” enough! I’m a man, silly woman, so know your limits!
Still, it made me think. I DO tend to keep most of my “serious” issues invisible. Why ever show any weakness? Why burden someone else? Why give anyone that access?
Yet this person had feelings for me, and so I thought about it more. CS Lewis wrote, “Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.” I thought on that—I agreed. And yet I was not willing to really let my guard down for this person. By not ever opening up, I was safe, but also dying.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even 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. To love is to be vulnerable.”― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
That invulnerable isolation will change you. It’s not good, and it’s not meant to be that way! The nature of God is plural, One composed of Three, and so our own nature is to be united at the deepest level with someone else. In order to do that, you have to give away some of your security, to love by taking risks.
If we learn to love in an “agape” way, that will lessen our fears and anxieties. Agape focuses on giving, not getting. It will allow those who love us to have access to our souls; our joys, our fears, our ambitions, and our tears. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)
Today, start loving by letting your guard down a bit. Be willing to be vulnerable. And for men, don’t think that this means that you need to become a docile puppy. On the contrary, you must temper your vulnerability by also deciding to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) You are meant to be a dangerous protector, who has power kept in check. You are also meant to love your wife as your own body.