I stood at the embankment of the river. It was rainy season and the water rushed below me, snaking its way down the once-dry river bed. The force of it had swept away the makeshift bridge that had previously helped people cross, and now I watched as my language helper effortlessly jumped from where we were standing across to the other side, with a baby on her back, mangoes in her hand, and roots of a tree tucked into her skirt waistband. It was my turn and I nervously looked for an easier way to cross. There was no other way around. My friend saw my hesitation and asked if I was scared. Uh, yes! But I wasn’t going to admit that! So I laughed, and jumped as far as my little legs would let me.
Learning vulnerability with others is a bit like taking that jump. We don’t really know if we are going to fall straight into the raging river and be pulled under by hurt, pain and broken trust. It’s a risk because we show more of ourselves to others, and even to ourselves. It’s a risk because we then have to deal with the vulnerability we are sharing.
But if we don’t take that leap we could also miss out on the blessing that comes from community. The blessing of carrying one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and of praying for one another to see healing take place (James 5:16).
I loved my connection group last year. It started as they normally do. We shared a bit about who we are and what our days involved. It was nice and sweet and we shared prayer points each week.
And then something happened. A friend in the group took the risk of being vulnerable and shared something that was close to her heart. We all paid attention. And as we prayed for her in her situation, we each began to share just a little bit more of where we were really at. That season of 10 weeks saw a deep sharing of joy, struggles and pains. It was with women all over the world and on very different journeys, who were connected by something bigger than ourselves.
As we increase in closeness with one another, we can take the risk of being more vulnerable. That vulnerability opens us up to hearing God’s truth and experiencing the love He is feeding into our very soul. At the same time, we receive the goodness of being in community, of learning from others and growing together.
I jumped across the river that day and I’m so thankful I didn’t fall. If I had fallen, God’s presence and His love would still have been with me. I would have been bruised and sore, but God’s character would remain the same.
I landed on the other side and I got to spend the rest of the day at my language helper’s side, learning from her and sharing with her in the experiences we had.
As you join your connection group this spring, my prayer is that in your groups you will experience the blessing of taking the risk of vulnerability with one another. I pray that as you connect over these next 8 weeks you will experience the joy of being in community (be it virtual) with women devoted to sharing, praying together and discovering more of who our Faithful Father is. It’s no coincidence you are in each other’s lives for this season, let’s make the most of it.
Do you have an experience of taking a leap of vulnerability in community with others?