This week I am attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry Converge Leaders Training with my parents Alton and Sherrilyn Williams in Redding, CA. On the first day, we heard from a Ruth, a minister from Nottingham in the UK, speak about the power of vulnerability. Her talk was transformative.
Vulnerability vs. Transparency
She discussed the difference between vulnerability and transparency. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have two different definitions.
Transparency is allowing others to see what is happening inside us without us allowing them to affect it.
Vulnerability, however, is the ability to be affected by love. Love is what we all want most, but it is the scariest thing to pursue.
The Opposite of Vulnerability is Shame
The opposite of vulnerability is shame. Being “ashamed” indicates that we did something bad. Shame, however, indicates that “We are something bad.”
Shame started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God instructed them not to eat. The serpent came to Eve and made God’s certainty of love feel like a question: “Does God really love you? Is He really for you? Does God want you to be happy?” These questions led Eve to believe the lie that God did not love her. It seeped into her like poison, and she and Adam disobeyed God as a result.
By eating the fruit, Adam and Eve gained the ability to judge themselves. Before they ate, they did not have that ability. We cannot handle being in the judgment seat of our own lives. On some level, we all judge ourselves as being unworthy of love. When Adam and Eve judged themselves, they hid from God. This created a barrier to intimacy, connection, love, and vulnerability.
In the same way, when we separate ourselves from love, we are more apt to hear the lies of the enemy. He says things to us about who we are not. These wrong ideas lead to shame.
Shame shows up in many different ways in our lives. It tells us that we are the only one dealing with our struggle, that we cannot change, that we are behind, not measuring up, not where we should be. Shame sounds like “shoulds”: “I should be further along.” “I should know better than to do that.” I should not be struggling with the same issue after so many years.”
Shame can look like hiding and/or performing. It can also manifest as aggression. It is a fear of disconnection, a social construct.
One of the enemy’s names is “Accuser,” according to Revelation 12:10. One definition of accuse is to “categorize” or to “put someone in a box.” The enemy will always tell us who we are not. God will only tell us who we are. We allow ourselves to be made less than.
How to Break Shame
Breaking shame requires taking those places that we do not deem lovable and showing them to the Lord. The Lord shows up when we are vulnerable. We stand on a sense of worthiness, and the Lord cries, “Yes, you are worthy.”
Vulnerability also requires us sharing our lives – our strengths and our challenges – with others. The Lord once told Ruth, “You will never be fully loved if you are never fully seen.” Every time Ruth was vulnerable, a hole in her heart was healed.
Vulnerability requires courage. In vulnerability, we grow. On the other side of risking our hearts is love and truth.
Why EnVision That?
I honestly believe one reason God gave me the “EnVision That” idea was to draw me out of the shadows into the light. One prevailing theme in my life that I have heard from the Lord and others is, “Hidden.” I have hid and been hidden for years in a church office, in my weight, in a severe skin condition called atopic dermatitis as a child, in a belief that my voice did not matter, in a struggle with pornography, in not revealing my beauty as a woman, in discounting, and not confidently pursuing my ideas from God.
This blog is one way I am stepping into the light. It is a place where I can share myself – the good, the bad, and the ugly – with others and be affected by love. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know how EnVision That will take shape, but I do know I want people to find and pursue their visions in God. I’m simply taking one step at a time to see where the Lord leads it.
In what area of your life do you need to be vulnerable and be affected by love? I would love to hear from you. Or share your heart with someone you know and love and trust. Remember, love, truth, and healing are on the other side of your risk.