The following guest post was written by Simcha Natan:
Part of what I do part-time is serving on the leadership team of Ascend Carmel. A 10-day program which we run for people looking to go deeper and further with God, here in Israel. Many amazing things happen during this 10 days, most of which are not my stories to tell, but the idea that always most impacts me about this 10 days away, is the courage that the participants show in being vulnerable and honest.
From the minute they walk through the front door, into a guest house full of strangers, they are all committed to each other, to walking through the journey they are on together, and to creating a safe place for each other to be real.
It really got me thinking about vulnerability and honesty. We are programmed to view these two qualities of vulnerability and honesty as dangerous states to live in. They hold great risk, and in our minds, will usually result in tears. Throughout my life, I have always been told one of my greatest flaws is that I trust people too easily or quickly and that I’m also open with my heart. In other words, I live in a state of vulnerability. For many years, I tried to fight this, as I had been convinced that it was going to get me hurt, and actually – it did. But I realized a long time ago, that actually what I did was deliberately turn my heart of flesh into a heart of stone, and undoing that was far more painful than the hurt I’d experienced in my vulnerable state.
We are programmed to view these two qualities of vulnerability and honesty as dangerous states to live in.
Since going through the painful process of unfreezing my heart, I have come to see how this is one of my gifts, and to embrace it, and all that comes with it. Including the hurt. What I discovered is that this place is actually a welcoming place. It’s a place that others feel safe, at home and taken care of. This is why our participants on Ascend felt so able to be vulnerable from the get-go. They felt welcomed, at home and taken care of, both by each other and by the leadership who are committed to setting an atmosphere of honesty, vulnerability and being real.
I have witnessed the incredible strength that is exhibited in someone making themselves vulnerable and being intentionally honest with each other, or with God. It isn’t a place of weakness, it is a place of courage, of choice and of incredible healing and refreshment. It’s where the truth is faced, accepted and love is exchanged.
I have witnessed the incredible strength that is exhibited in someone making themselves vulnerable and being intentionally honest with each other, or with God.
When you deconstruct what takes place when a person is honest and vulnerable, it begs the question of why we aren’t that way all the time! The problem is self. When we see someone else’s vulnerability as an opportunity to feel better about ourselves, that’s when dangers arise. But if we were more conscious of the beauty of the exchange that can take place between two intentionally honest people, we would all be better off.
When people are vulnerably honest together, strength is found, courage is raised, love is given, and relationships are made that will last a lifetime. And most important – We are real. Because it’s only when we are vulnerable, that we are at our most real, raw, naked selves.