Losing, Vulnerability, and Idols

Today I sat in a meeting where we craft teachings for our broader community. The conversation ranged far and wide: worship, self-reliance, vulnerability, joy.

My dad is fond of quoting Woody Allen (which is a lot of fun to write) who once said: “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

What struck me in our conversation today was this: that statement is true, and leading people to say no to what their heart wants is really, really hard work.

The biggest difference between my work in Colorado (with a CTK church plant) and here in Boston is this: the people in our little church in Colorado knew they were broken, and people in Boston won’t admit it.

Here in Boston we can hide behind achievements and opportunities. Busyness and activity are our idols. There is always something better and bigger and more impressive just around the corner if we keep pushing and working and striving.

It is extremely rare to come across a self-deprecating, genuinely happy, average sort of person. (Like this guy). Someone who tells the truth about themselves, someone who is grounded and non-anxious.

In fact, it was mentioned in our meeting today that a person like that would be held in suspicion in most of the circles we run in.

This semester has been fantastic so far. Ministry is going well by several measures. I love the conversations I get to have as students share their hopes and dreams and struggles and questions and ambitions and fears.

It feels weird to, in some way, discourage students from pursuing their dreams, to not go for it. But often the pursuit of that dream becomes their god. And underneath that is the anxious striving of someone who can’t deal with failure and their own brokenness.

If there’s one thing I hope I can do for students it is to remind them that it is ok to be vulnerable. 

You don’t have to rely on your self.

We worship a big God, full of grace, who loves us for who we are not for what we do.

In the words of Brene Brown: “Vulnerability is the birth place of joy, love, belonging, and creativity.

It’s fascinating this paradox we invent for ourselves: the very thing we don’t want to do (be vulnerable) is actually the thing we need to do in order to experience all we hope for (love, joy, community, etc).

Perhaps that is part of what Jesus meant when he spoke of gaining the world and losing our soul.

From the Message:

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?


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