The Vulnerability Question

I have been reading the book "The best me that I can be" by Pastor John Ortberg.  He wrote "You can not be fully loved unless you are fully known".  I have been contemplating that statement over the past several days.

What is being suggested is that love is authentic when you know the totality of the the object of your love.  Think about this for a minute.  So often we portray a false self or persona to others in order to reduce the likelihood of rejection or ridicule.  We know this is evident when we first meet people and we put on our "professional" or "neighborly" voice.  However, this is also present in some of the deepest and most intimate relationships.  We are afraid to reveal the true self because we are not confident that we will be accepted.  Many a husband would like to share his fears, insecurities, dreams, and passion with his wife, but does not due to his understanding of masculinity and his projected understanding of what his wife will and will not tolerate.  This, of course, extends to wives, sons, mothers, relatives, and co-workers. 

The essence of Jesus is that he loves us for us.  Not for what we could be or will be, but despite whatever we have done, thought, or desired, Jesus loves us.  He loves and accepts us.

What Pastor Ortberg is suggesting is that scope or breadth of love for us is directly connected to the degree of acceptance that is offered to us, when we are most authentic.  Love for a spouse is not demonstrated most powerfully when the spouse looks great, smells great, and is doing great things, but is communicated most powerfully when you continue to demonstrate affection when the spouse does not look their best, smell their best or has done something offensive.  Everyone likes someone who benefits them, but love is based upon loving the whole person, not the persona.

When we put on facades to be accepted and resist authenticity and vulnerability, we lose the opportunity to experience the deepest and most profound levels of love.  When we can "get real" and we find that despite our reality, that we are still loved, that is true euphoria.

When is the last time that you shared your fears, hurts, failures, and dreams with someone?  I am not talking about the stuff you are "supposed to say".  I am asking when is the last time you were truly vulnerable with someone, knowing that it was a risky venture.  Knowing that what you present is not what you desire, but what you are.

Take some time today to develop relationships where you can experience the depths of love (whether it is romantic or platonic).  You may not be able to "get real" all at once, but God desires that you be authentic with someone so that you may grow and experience love.


Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment