To be “vulnerable” is to be susceptible to being hurt. No one, of course, wants to be vulnerable. Fortunately for the Christian, heaven will be a place in which pain will be no more (Rev. 21:4). According to Brad Hambrick, however, being in heaven will entail a kind of radical vulnerability without susceptibility to pain. The vulnerability will consist of not being able to hide anything. In this article series, we will look at Brad Hambrick’s description of the nature, causes and cure for feeling vulnerable, all from a Christian perspective.
Unfortunately, in this life, being known entails the fear of being hurt. In other words, knowledge of who you are makes you vulnerable. A friend may dredge up past failures or reveal embarrassing secrets about you, for example. Some are convinced that they can never receive love on the grounds that, if they were fully known, they could not be loved. Vulnerability is a prerequisite for being loved.
It is easy to just assent to the propositions of faith rather than fully embrace it, since living according to the gospel puts you at risk of being hurt. You may also be convinced that others are more socially adept than you, and you are therefore afraid to enter into relationships due to the inferiority you fear towards others. Some distrust emotions because they expose who you really are and it is more difficult to manage the impressions others have of you.
Some want to be very self-sufficient, and therefore, very work-addicted, in order to feel like they are not in “debt” to anyone. Some people are afraid of being alone with your significant other, and you feel pressured to engage in various activities in order to ignore the elephant in the room, namely, that there are problems you both are afraid to confront.
The problem with refusing to be vulnerable is that we receive to be loved, and refusing to be loved makes you feel used by those whom you are in relationships with. This may result in resentment towards the other person. But why should we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable? What is good about allowing the possibility that we will be hurt? Hambrick begins to tackle this question by defining vulnerability from a Christian perspective:
“Vulnerability is the willingness to take the risk of allowing any event, belief, preference, interest, or emotion of your life to be “on the table” when it is useful to glorify God by encouraging a fellow believer, allowing a fellow believer to encourage you, or evangelizing an unbeliever. It is this disposition that breathes the life of authenticity into relationships and allows them to be mutually enjoyable, enriching, and character-shaping.”