It is counter-intuitive. In some of the most vulnerable spaces, humans are liberated. There is something freeing about chosen vulnerability. Not a forced insecurity, but choosing to reveal who you are fully to the world.
Brené Brown believes vulnerability is the salve to shame. When shame is exposed, when we are honest about our fears or beliefs of inadequacies or failings, the power of shame dissolves. Brian McLaren in his book, Naked Spirituality, claims that St. Francis of Assisi found his calling through vulnerability as he took of his clothes in a church to demonstrate he would be not clothed in the culture of the day. His father, a wealthy fabric merchant, was horrified at his son’s behavior. And yet St. Francis was simply saying, “this is fully who I am. I can be no other.” His naked-demonstration is regarded by many to mark the beginning of his ministry. Many mystics emphasized the role of vulnerability in a spiritual journey toward enlightenment.
It is common in our world today to expend a lot of energy in avoiding being vulnerable. There are many clothes to cover our spiritual nakedness with and many ways to try to hide ourselves- even from those closest to us. We hide with our physical stuff. We hide with our work. We hide with money. We hide with clothing and titles. None of these things are inherently bad, but they can easily become the tools of obscuring who we truly are.
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe soul authenticity is one of the principal steps in the path to wholeness and beloved community. When we are trying to hide who we are, we ultimately deprive the world of our best selves. We cannot be in authentic relationship with one another while trying to appear as someone else.
The kind of love that changes the world needs all of who you are.
This includes the scars and the corners where you never shine a light. This includes the mistakes and the past that was always promising. This includes the struggle you are in now and what is most active for you. It is in those places of challenge and incongruity that transformation is seeded.
The organizer and labor activist, Cesar Chavez, said, “you cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” There is a profound, real liberation if a person is able to release oneself from the fear of judgment, inadequacy and unworthiness.
For this day, how might you live more authentically? How might you help someone else be vulnerable?
May we each find liberation in this season of renewal and Passover,