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Rarely do I pick up a book and begin to think that everyone in the free world should stop what they are doing and read what I reading. I can securely admit that I am a sucker for lovey-dovey, great love and great loss novels, so obviously I wouldn’t go around recommending those reads to everyone. But, when I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown I knew that I found something special and I wanted everyone I know to experience it with me.
The tag-line for this book is How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. This book is literally for everyone.
I was the proud mommy of a 2-year-old and still struggling to find the balance in a crazy little life that my husband and I had created when I first read this book. I was recommended this book by my mom who is my constant supporter, but also a therapist and knows a downward spiral when she sees one. My mom knew that Brene’s words on parenting would minister to me and shape me into the mom (and woman) that I desired to be as my daughter grew.
What impressed me about this book was how Brene defined the word Vulnerability. She says, “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” It is in these moments of uncertainty, risk and/or emotional exposure that we can truly be known and be given the privilege to truly know others.
It is in these moments of uncertainty, risk and/or emotional exposure that we can truly be known and be given the privilege to truly know others.
She then further encourages us as humans to live with what she calls, “Wholeheartedness.” She states that, “wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.” Oh how I desire to live a life of wholeheartedness! Knowing that I am worthy of living, of love and being known! As I read these words I can’t help but draw the parallels between Brene’s words and the picture of being a child of God. When I came to know the Lord I immediately became a daughter of the king, I was worthy of saving, I was, and am loved, and I am known. He called me by name.
But why is vulnerability so hard? What in our culture has trained us to slap on a mask, numb-out, or consider ourselves not enough or unworthy of love? Brene so eloquently states that most of us feel like this about Vulnerability. “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.”
Isn’t that so true? I may meet a girl for coffee or even be sitting with some close friends and think how badly I want to know them. I desire to pray for them and know how they are and what they’re struggling with. I genuinely want to know how I can encourage them in their walk with the Lord and in their marriages. BUT, when they ask me how I’m doing. Well, I’m fine. Everything is good here. Nothing to report. UGH. Why do I say that? Why is vulnerability in our own lives so difficult!
Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.
I knew right away that I wanted to stop the cycle of being fake and not living wholeheartedly. I wanted my daughter to see her mom as a woman who knew she was enough, knew she was worthy, and knew who she was. All of the words that I read from Brene I just wanted to infuse into my daughter’s life. At a young age I wanted her to know all of these principles, no matter how counter-cultural they are.
But like Brene says in her chapter on parenting, “Raising children who believe in their worthiness requires us to model that journey and that struggle.” Does my daughter see me struggle when I fail at something or do I hide that from her? Does she feel empathy when she struggles with selfishness because let’s be honest, I struggle with it too, or does she feel shame? Does she know in her soul that no matter what she does with her life, no matter what school she goes to or decisions she makes she belongs in our family…we are proud of her, she is worthy of our love, and she is enough just the way she is. Oh for her to know that with every cell of her being!
Raising children who believe in their worthiness requires us to model that journey and that struggle.
What would it look like if we practiced vulnerability in our families? If we impressed the value of belonging, being enough and being loved into our kids. It can feel counter-cultural when we are surrounded by questions like, “What preschool are you looking into? What sport will your son do next spring? What instrument is your daughter playing? Blah, Blah, Blah.” All of these things can make for a rich and well-rounded childhood, but what would it look like if we raised a generation of kids who just knew in their soul that they – not what they do or produce – are enough. That’s it, just them.
Furthermore, we can rest in the knowledge that we are enough because we are known by a Holy God. A God that really knows us at our most vulnerable – He has seen us at our best and our worst. And you know what, He still saved us. He still loves us. Because we are enough. You are enough. When we can rest in that peace and freedom, we can then pour into our children the same truths. What a powerful group of people we would see. And it all starts with vulnerability.
Interested in reading Daring Greatly? Check it out here!
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Image Credit: Bart Everson, Creative Commons. Some changes made.