Living a Life of Ultimate Vulnerability, Part Two
From Part One...
Our neediness is not a condition we can understand rightly, readily, or completely. It's like trying to talk about something we don't know much about but don't know the extent of our lack of understanding. Written another way, it's a lot like a blind man holding a mirror to his face in the hopes of recognizing a familiar image, only to be reminded once again he's blind and has no tangible concept of what he looks like or, even, what it means to be blind in terms of its comparison to seeing. And so, we face a dilemma: we're in need of something in our personhood that's impossible to meet within ourselves. And that creates stress within us and makes us feel vulnerable. We're lacking in something, know it deeply, and yet have little clue what it is we're missing.
To fill the voids, we can't look to others either, for they, too, are blind and will only add that which isn't us and which doesn't belong. And so again, we feel the perplexity of our vaguely experienced deficiencies. We don't know what it is we're missing; yet, deep inside us, we each know we're missing something really, really important. Coming to such a realization (and admitting it out loud [so your neurology gets the message]) is the first step toward illumination and, ultimately, our salvation (e.g., the salvaging of our life).
And now, Part Two...
What's needed, my friend, is an awakening—not so much the adding of something to us, but rather the awakening of that which we already have. The voids we feel are those parts within us that are still asleep. They're not really voids, though; they're dormant energies of our personhood. And that's where turning toward God and asking Him to awaken His Image within us becomes critical. God's energizing presence is the key that unlocks the mysterious depths of who we are, what we're about, who we're not, and what we're not about. It's also the Source of our wisdom: that which enables us to live congruently with such self-knowledge. To be "filled with the Holy Spirit" is to be completely surrendered to God and awakened to who we are in Him. To be "being filled," as Paul urges in Ep 5:18, is the progressive surrendering of our lives to the Lordship of Christ, the sin- and false self-exterminating influences of His presence, and the awakening and reanimating power of His Spirit. The process begins with coming to the end of ourselves and continues with our turning toward God (again and again and again) to experience the reviving, renovating, and life-salvaging work of His Spirit.
Once the surrendering process begins, eliminating those things that aren't you and don't belong (basically, the infection of the "false self," which Paul writes of in Ro 7) will need to take center-stage for a while. Maybe even for a few years. While the process of completely rethinking your life (what I call "divine repentance") will take the rest of your life, significant progress can be made within a relatively short time (perhaps, even, within two or three years), so long as you look to God repeatedly and let Him help you learn to think and feel the way He does about things, the people around you (Himself included), and, of course, your own life.
As you (in partnership with God) begin to eliminate that which isn't you and which doesn't belong, you'll experience times that may feel like an embarrassing nakedness. That's normal. While you may feel naked, you won't be naked; you'll just be feeling the freedom that comes with being extricated from that which was smothering you. As more and more monstrous-like attachments—the false, sin-filled accoutrements of your fallen nature—are removed, access will be created within your soul, through which God can be invited to give you what you've always wanted: more of Him, and more of you truly found in Him.
Full wakefulness, a conditioned state we all desire, is nothing less than divine union with God Almighty. While you'll still be you (and 100% you), you'll be the unique expression of God's Image living in and through you. As you surrender to God, your mission and purpose, as well as your dream of what God's life expressed through you is supposed to look like, will begin to find its congruent and progressive expression through you. In time, as you surrender to God and "the dream" more fully, you'll once again be brought to a place of vulnerability—a place I like to call "ultimate (or absolute) vulnerability."
God, through His deep love for you and His deep respect for the freedom He's woven into the fabric of your personhood, has made Himself vulnerable—ultimately vulnerable—to you. He loves you, and He'll always love you.
Even if you never love Him back. (This is a risk God takes with all of us.)
In beginning to live out God's dream for you, you'll begin to respond to life the way He does. Like God, you'll become "ultimately vulnerable" as you start loving others without ever having to be loved by them in return. Love—true and genuine love—loves for the sake of loving the beloved, and nothing more. Be not dismayed by this. Loved in return or not, the lover always benefits, because inherent to loving another is the simple joy and self-transformation that arrises as one begins to become love organically by being and doing that which is loving. This is love in its purest expression and in its most vulnerable and selfless offering.
Go, and discover more of who you are and of what you're about. Partner with God to eliminate that which isn't you and which doesn't belong, and ask Him to awaken His Image within you. This is life, my friends, life that's lived from a place of ultimate vulnerability. Don't settle for anything less.
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Mondays: Meditative Prayer
Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline
Fridays: Martial Arts Practice