Andy Gill: Risking Vulnerability
Today I'm excited to host my new buddy Andy Gill in my space. Andy won my Twitter heart when he asked "Did you consider applying to Princeton?" when I said I was going to seminary, and I fluttered my hands wildly that any person would even joke about me being that smart. We're trading posts this week, so be sure to check out mine over at AndyGill.org!
One of my favorite lines from the movie, Perks of Being a Wallflower is, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
Hearing this again gave me a realization of how incredibly messed up I am, and I don’t mean in some, unsound theologically abusive, “I realized I’m depraved” type way. More so, I realized how messed up I was because I had been told how faulted, fallible, depraved, and undeserving of love I am, and how deserving of punishment I am because of my depraved state.
It was like standing in front of a mirror for the millionth time, in the same light, and seeing the same me but being okay with these things that once made me so upset, and this time around actually being at peace with who and what I saw.
It was realizing, I mean truly believing that as researcher Brene Brown says so wonderfully, "what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful." It doesn't make you weak, it doesn't make you wounded animal for others to prey upon, it doesn’t take away or even give any value or worth, it simply makes you, you.
It’s terrifying to step into the light and in front of a mirror. To truly see yourself, let alone, allow others to see you. It can be comfortable to remain in the “dark”, hidden and alone, because there’s little risk in that. But what I’ve come to notice is that when we do hide ourselves, and close ourselves off from the world at large, yes we lower the risk of being hurt, but we also lose the opportunities of being loved and accepted, and in love and acceptance is where I feel we find healing.
My friend Andrew says it this way, “We’re not meant to be afraid and we are not meant to be safe. We are meant to risk and to explore, to questions and to wonder. To step outside our safe house and endeavor to experience what most have only dreamed about and few have actually done. To become who we were created to be.”
The beauty of the gospel is that it gives us permission to be imperfect, to be vulnerable, to simply embrace who we truly are, and know that we are accepted as we are.
But somehow, someway, the “gospel” became the opposite of that. Forcing this “doctrine of depravity” down others throats, that informs us that we’re undeserved of anything good, and in fact deserve punishment. In consequence Church and Christianity became a place to hide who you truly are, to become and take on someone that you’re not. Living a life of shame and guilt, afraid to look in the mirror and allow others to see you.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” - Brene Brown.
My hope is that we can still be able to see the same person in the mirror that God sees. That we can continue to have the strength and courage to look in the mirror and risk being vulnerable enough to receive love and acceptance so that we can find healing.
Andy Gill is currently studying at Princeton Theological Seminary. He speaks to youth and young adults, writes and tweets about
faith, God, relationships, and life. More interestingly - he's a nerd
at heart. Loves: Food, Coffee, Jesus, Avoiding small talk, and Instagram. He's 33.3% serious. 33.3% humor. And the rest is just water. #yolo (jk - don't put that in) (Ummmm, you can't say #yolo and take it back, Andy!)