Why be Vulnerable?
By Pete Mathison
W ho wants others to see our weaknesses? I want others to see all of my strengths, goodness or success, not weakness! Several years ago I was asked to give a talk at the Cedar Rapids Area Christian Businessmen’s Assn. They met once a week for bible study and each month had a speaker share his personal witness: how and when Jesus Christ came into that person’s heart in a way that brought about real change. Eventually I was asked to give my witness.
As I prepared for this 25-minute talk I did a lot of sugar coating of my story. Oh it was all true but I did not get into the depth of my story that really showed when, where and how God intervened in my life to keep me from going deeper into a suicidal depression.
The night before I was to give this talk at 6am, I could not sleep. I kept thinking about my talk and knew I was glossing over the real story of my talk. Why was I? It is real simple. I was uncomfortable sharing with anyone except my wife and doctor that I had been suffering deep depression. I was embarrassed by this and did not want others to see my weakness and my need for help.
I was what I think many of us are, and that is proud! I did not want others to see my weaknesses, to see my pain, to see that I had run away from God who is our source of life. Well that night before my talk I tossed and turned, could not sleep and finally in bed asked God, what do you want me to say tomorrow? I immediately heard four simple words: “just tell the truth”.
I knew all along this was the correct thing to do however I was afraid to make myself vulnerable, to let others who knew me or didn’t know me, hear how messed up I had been. Fear, insecurity, embarrassment are all very real and Satan uses these things to keep us from getting closer and serving God by being vulnerable. By telling the truth about our pain, struggles, fears, worries, anxieties we are serving God as our story just might be what another person is struggling with. By being vulnerable we can share honestly whatever our struggles are and let others know how important a strong relationship with God is in overcoming any struggle that the world sends us.
After I gave this talk a man waited until the room of 50 or so men left and approached me. He said he could identify with my talk, with my fears and suicidal thoughts. He was shaking and I could see he was in great pain with extreme anxiety. I asked him if he had contemplated suicide and he said yes. I asked if he was suicidal that morning and he was. I asked him if he wanted help and he did so I took him to St. Luke’s ER and they admitted him.
This man was really hurting and confused. He felt alone, ashamed and did not know where to turn. God used my story to help this man get help. When you are vulnerable God can use you in ways that we cannot see or understand. Be vulnerable as we never know who it may help!
Please share your witness of God in your life. We would like to post your story on this site. This is what evangelization is all about!
The Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Acts 18:10.