You are about to embark on a new chapter in your life that will forever change the way you view things and people in the world. You are going to meet people who have different values than the ones you believe in. As a result you will be challenged. Many people don’t like to be challenged, mainly because most of us don’t like to think that we could be “wrong” or that we could be the “bad guy” in someone else’s eyes. The think to keep in mind though, is that it’s not about being right or wrong. It is about making the effort to get to know the other person, and hearing their story to understand where they are coming from and why they hold the values that they hold. In doing this you will open yourself up, and consequently open upother people to a whole new world of new experiences, new life lessons, and new friendships. Remember to just keep an open mind and to make yourself vulnerable. When people see your vulnerability, they are seeing the truest manifestation of yourself. Most importantly, remember to love, and love deeply. Never let a moment pass you by that allows you to tell someone how you feel about them. You’ll be amazed by the warmth in your heart that you’ll feel throughout the year. Your face will hurt from smiling so much and sometimes your eyes will hurt from crying with and for others. All of this will lead you to understand that you have acquired a new family in your life. Good luck with this coming year! Welcome!
Life is full of little phases, phases we have to go through as we shape our character and find who we really are. This past semester has been an interesting journey in the process of finding who I was. I thought the answer was clear every morning when I looked at my self in the mirror. Yet I realized I was answering a different question. For the longest time I have being answering the question “Who I was taught to be”. I started my journey by questioning, questioning everything. I realized that I needed to find who I really was but do this by myself. This process takes courage and vulnerability.
But what does it really means to be vulnerable? Most people believe that vulnerability has a negative connotation. I have seen definitions from “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded” to “open to attack or damage.” Yet vulnerability goes far beyond that. It is a human characteristic that is not value as much anymore but is essential for personal growth. Being vulnerable is the ability to break open and let yourself be touch by the words of others. It is about letting our self-ego a side and with lots of humility understand where do others are coming from. Believe that we know what the right answer is and that we know what others are trying to say is one of human’s main limitations. This attitude prevents us from expanding our horizons and being able to be expose to someone else’s world. Being vulnerable is about finding our weaknesses and strengths and to be open to share those with others. Vulnerability provides us with the hope of developing relationships, which will help us to shape our character and grow as individuals.
Be vulnerable. I encourage you to break open, to question life, to be change and to find who you really are. This is an ongoing process we have to take as individuals. Don’t be afraid to start the journey. It is a process that helps us to understand the world from a unique perspective. Your own perspective of life!
How would you characterize the “phase” you are currently in? How does your current phase fit in with the timeline of your life? Who were you taught to be? What is scary about questioning what you have been taught and who you have been taught to be? What does it mean to be vulnerable? With yourself? With others? With God? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? What is your “perspective” and where did that come from?
Yesterday Chris Heuertz came to our community time to remind us of the “unexpected gifts” that arise when we stay in communities long enough to experience tensions. In his newest book he says, “Of course, the fear of experiencing many of these tensions in our deepest relationships is enough to keep us from giving ourselves to the intimate places of vulnerability in community, but when the risks are high the rewards are more satisfying than we could ever dream of. The very ways we fail one another are the clearest invitations into spaces that affirm our need for one another. If we can experience these challenges as reasons to stay rather than justifications to leave, unexpected and unlikely gifts await us, even in the most trying of relationships.”
When have you experienced the kind of vulnerability that goes beyond transparency to the risk of being wounded? When was this received well? When was this received poorly? What have you learned from risking yourself in community? Have you risked yourself in community? Where are you being invited to step into real relationship, into the possibility for offendedness, betrayal, failure and the like? What keeps you from stepping into the scary world of reality in relationship–both yours and others?