Being vulnerable is not something that is easy to suddenly implement. It takes intent, practice, and grace with yourself and others. I [Peggy] have shared what vulnerability means and where we can find vulnerability in Scripture, but here are a few exercises that may help you learn how to be intentionally vulnerable.
This is not a formal process or a checklist, so choose which ones you think would be most beneficial to you. Or, gather a group of friends that you trust to do some of these exercises together.
1. Write your personal story of salvation.
If you believe in Jesus, your personal story of salvation is an incredibly vulnerable experience. If you are uncomfortable speaking in front of others or need to compose your thoughts, writing your testimony provides a way to take your time, choose your words, and share a deeply personal story. Pick a good friend or family member who also believes and share your story with them. After, think about how that experience made you feel and how it affected your relationship with the person.
2. Practice telling your story to a trusted friend or colleague.
Pick a moment in your life and share that story with someone you trust. It can be a story of faith, a hard season of your life, a great accomplishment, or a disappointment. What matters is that the story is something personal that you feel emotionally connected to. Note how you feel when preparing and sharing your story. Do you feel anxious? Eager? What was the person’s reaction? How did that grow your friendship?
3. Seek God for opportunities each day to be vulnerable with your feelings and emotions.
Pray and ask God to help you recognize and act on moments to be vulnerable in your day. It may be talking to your neighbor about her sick pet, apologizing to your spouse about something you said, or asking a coworker for help with a project. Those little decisions in a day help you cultivate a vulnerable lifestyle. So, pay attention to those moments when the Holy Spirit prompts you to be vulnerable.
4. Seek ways to help others that take you out of your comfort zone.
We often get in a rut when it comes to serving others. Find a new activity that puts you in a place where you have to be vulnerable and exercise trust in order to serve. Cook a meal, say a prayer, share a story, visit the sick, or help the homeless. If you are the person up front and greeting visitors, practice vulnerability by serving with the cleanup crew after church. You do not have commit to this activity forever. But, do not grow complacent where you are serving and not consider new opportunities to be vulnerable and grow.
5. Listen more and speak less.
One way to practice vulnerability is to not make a situation about you. Many people dominate conversations to control and to communicate how important they are. By listening more, you are being vulnerable. You are choosing to not put your identity in how much attention you get, and you are relinquishing your time and the conversation to the other person.
6. Encourage someone who is struggling with self-worth that they matter to God.
Many of us know someone who is struggling with their self-worth. Choose to see them and love them where they are at. Send a kind note, stop by for a visit, or take a walk together. Your encouragement does not have to be a big or fancy gesture, but your kind words and personal story will communicate that you value and love them.
7. Spend more time thinking about Jesus than you do about yourself.
This one is challenging. For many of us, our prayers revolve around what we need or want. Try practicing changing the focus of your prayers to Jesus instead of yourself. Notice the difference? Now, try incorporating that in your internal thinking. When something pops up, pause and turn it over to Jesus. Be vulnerable with God by surrendering your will for His.
I hope you walk away encouraged from these exercises. Vulnerability, although risky, is an incredible gift to others and to yourself. Let us know how your exercises go by email or on Twitter. We would love to hear from you!