Recently, my Pa told me something along the lines of, “I love to see you smile, but every once in a while, I just want to see you cry.” In one word, Pa was asking me to be vulnerable, which is a “willingness to show emotion or to allow one’s weaknesses to be seen or known; willingness to risk being emotionally hurt.”
I struggle with being vulnerable. Usually, my mindset is that if I keep smiling, eventually I will be happy. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t mind crying. When I was young and my bedtime routine got derailed by tears, my mom told me that the tears were good. At the very least, they would help me fall asleep. Even now, when I am feeling sad, but the tears won’t come, I love to cuddle up to a sad movie or book and let the tears flow. A good cry helps me to leave the frustration behind and get a fresh start.
However, I hate crying in front of other people. Even though I think tears can be good, tears in public are a sign of shame. If my parents ever wanted me to stop crying as a child, all they had to do was pull out a camera. When faced with the choice of drying up my tears or having those tears forever memorialized, I would choose to dry up those tears real fast. I did not want to have any evidence that could be pulled out at any moment to show others how weak I was.
Those are my natural thoughts on crying, but what does the Bible have to say about showing one’s weakness? In 2 Corinthians 9 and 10, Paul writes:
“And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God uses our weaknesses to show His power. Think of Gideon. He had only 300 men to fight 135,000 Midianites. In the eyes of the world, Gideon’s army was pretty weak; however, God brought victory to the Israelites. God showed His strength and power through the apparent weakness of Gideon’s army.
This is why Paul found pleasure in his weakness. No matter the struggle, God can overcome all of them:
- When we are sick, God says in Exodus 23:25, “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water, and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
- When we are being corrected, God is showing us His love. Proverbs 3:1 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he deligtheth.”
- When we are in need, God promises in Philippians 4:19 that “God shall provide all your need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus.”
- When we are in the midst of persecution, Matthew 5:10 reminds us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- And when we are in distress, God will save us. 2 Samuel 22:18 says, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.”
No matter what weakness we have, God has promised that He is stronger and that He will take care of us. However, without being vulnerable and showing others those weaknesses, God cannot show others His strength and love through you.
So, for those of you like me who struggle with being vulnerable, how do we go about showing our weakness? For me, I have to start simple. Every morning when Pa asks me how I am doing, I give a honest answer. Sometimes, I am just okay versus good. Other days, I answer with a comment on how tired I am or that I am sore from workout. Whatever I feel in that moment, I share. It is still a work in progress, but slowly, I am letting other people see my weakness. I encourage you to try this. Find just one person you trust and tell them how you honestly feel when they ask you how you are doing. It is not easy, but if you start small and consistently be vulnerable, God will be able to use you to show others His power, love, and strength.
Before I can finish, there is one more scripture God wants me to share. John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.” When Lazarus died, and Mary and Martha were grieving, Jesus, the son of God, cried out of compassion for Mary and Martha. I also think Jesus wept to tell us that it is okay to cry. Our tears are not something to be ashamed of, or else Jesus would never have cried. Our tears allow us to express our emotions and express the times in which we are weak, so that God can help us. God will not waste a single one of our tears, but rather use them for good.
— Written by Erin