Dr. Brown's Discovery1
by Johnny Smith
Dr. Brené Brown is a popular secular author, speaker and storyteller. I recently watched a few of her presentations online and found her very engaging as she weaves personal stories into the results of her research as a social worker.
Dr. Brown has been on a quest for many years to find the root of shameand how it affects different individuals. Shame is closely related to guilt. Guilt is good in that it leads us to repentance and correction of wrongs toward God and other people. Shame, on the other hand, is more destructive and is focused on self preservation. Through interviews and surveys, Dr. Brown has accumulated a large database of information on the powerful negative effects of shame.
Interestingly, in her efforts to learn about shame she discovered the power of vulnerability. It seems that the people who were the most content and had fewer issues with shame were the ones who were the most open and vulnerable.
To Dr. Brown, this was a most unexpected finding. By opening ourselves up and being vulnerable to others, shame is sometimes a result. But according to Dr. Brown, if you aren't open and vulnerable with the risk of shame, you cannot be truly connected to others. Creativity is stifled and you will never experience true joy or contentment. You have to be vulnerable to grow emotionally and to weather the storms of life
It is amusing when the secular world figures out a life principle that every Christian already knows. In order to receive eternal life with Jesus, you must be totally vulnerable to God and repent of your sins. The scripture teaches that this principle also applies to our interactions with our fellow man. It is an important part of our growth and sanctification as believers.
The Bible is filled with individuals who were powerless and vulnerable but with God's power accomplished great things. The apostle Paul, who wrote a large part of the New Testament, discovered this truth with help from above. As a Jewish leader, Paul wrapped himself in the law and traditions of Judaism, then used them like a powerful weapon to persecute and kill Christians. It was only when he was blinded by God and made lowly and vulnerable that he was able to receive Christ and do good in the world. With the power of the Holy Spirit, he healed others, shared the teachings of Jesus, and was a major leader in the early church.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul tells us what Jesus said about being vulnerable: “My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.” Paul then responds: “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
Opening up and being vulnerable strikes fear in the hearts of many of us. The good news is that we have the power of the Holy Spirit. He gives us confidence to be transparent and to drop our protective barriers as we interact with others. As a result, our relationships will be deeper and more meaningful. We will be free to learn and grow spiritually.
This can also help our efforts to share the love of God. People will see us as more like them, broken and needing a savior. I hope this will encourage you to find out more about openness and vulnerability. In my own life it has been a way to develop lines of communication and to receive blessings from God and from my friends in Christ.
If you suffer from persistent feelings of shame I strongly advise you to seek help from a friend or from a professional counselor such as Mischa McCray.