Feeling vulnerable is uncomfortable; at least for me. Recently I experienced a situation that made me evaluate how I come to terms with vulnerability and if courage is a position I am able to take.
Are you feeling vulnerable? There is a way to find courage and trust God.
What Does it Mean to Feel Vulnerable?
As I stood outside the hotel waiting for my ride, a small sedan pulled up beside me. The driver slowly rolled down the window and asked, “1510 shuttle?” “Oh no!” I said, “but thank you.”
What an odd name for a shuttle company, “1510”.
I was so relieved knowing I had ordered a group shuttle from a reputable company and did not have to jump into a car with a complete stranger.
As I continued to wait, Mr. 1510 approached again, “are you, Ms. Armand?” I nodded as a disturbing realization began to sweep over me. He explained that he covered overflow for the company I had called, “I am your 3:10 shuttle (& BTW, 1510 is military time), why don’t you hop in the front seat?”
What, this is not what I ordered and who pulls up and blurts out military time to an unsuspecting passenger! My pulse quickened as I got into his car.
I looked around to see if anyone was watching or had a startled expression. No one even noticed; yep, feeling vulnerable.
I was not expecting this flood of angst to start hitting me in this very normal, safe situation.
When I ask what does it mean to feel vulnerable? This is the type of situation where I struggle to find courage; at least on the inside.
Feeling Vulnerable can Help us Trust God
I found myself sitting a couple of feet from someone I didn’t know; completely in his control. As I prayed about my irrational fear, I came face to face with the realization that I was feeling vulnerable, uncomfortable, and trapped in this intimate setting.
This situation made me feel Vulnerable–susceptible to physical or emotional harm.
Emotional vulnerabilities can leave us feeling just as afraid as if we were in physical danger. In these moments it seems easier to let fear take over, but we can chose another option–acknowledge our feelings and realize feeling vulnerable can help us trust God to maintain our peace.
Why are we afraid to feel vulnerable:
- We are afraid to feel vulnerable and acknowledge our need and weakness
- We are afraid we are alone in our feelings and God won’t be with us
- We are afraid that we deserve what we are getting and are unworthy to be rescued.
When we realize that in our weakest most vulnerable places, God is with us, feeling vulnerable loses its power on us.
Situations that Lead to Feeling Vulnerable
There are many situations in life that make us fearful and we lose courage. Here are some common situations that lead to feeling vulnerable.
- Starting a new job, learning a new skill or entering a new season of life
- Walking into a room of people we don’t know
- Having an uncomfortable conversation
- Asking someone to forgive us
- Being transparent about our feelings
- Admitting we are afraid or need help
How to Find Courage
When we encounter any of these situations, figuring out how to find courage is not our dominant thought. It’s usually fear, avoidance, anger, distraction, or retreat.
But when we are feeling vulnerable, there is another way to overcome fear and find courage.
In Matthew 14, Jesus instructed His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee ahead of Him, so He could spend time in prayer:
“Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Take Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Although the disciples were in greater danger than I was in a shuttle, Jesus’ message to them to “take courage” resonates.
To “take courage” is to be purposeful and unwavering in our pursuit of it; as if we are holding on to something that already belongs to us. We can be brave and courageous and may even grow through the process!
The disciples saw Jesus walking toward them and were afraid until He spoke and comforted them.
What Does the Bible Say about Courage?
We are guaranteed to face situations where we need courage (rational or not). What does the Bible say about courage? There are many scriptures and stories that can give us a spirit of strength and courage when we are feeling vulnerable.
Reading about the life of Jesus in the Bible brings great comfort and peace.
Jesus waits to comfort us if we stop,
call out to Him (audibly or in our spirit),
and listen to His voice.
Taking courage will not make us invulnerable, but it will help us be bold and peacefully endure with a new perspective that only His presence brings.
Bible Verses about Courage
Here are some Bible verses about courage that can help when you are feeling vulnerable.
“Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.”
Job 11:18 NLT
“This is my command””be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 NLT
“I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me””and right now! Hold me tight! Just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.”
Psalms 119:75 MSG
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV
Books on Courage and What Makes a Person Feel Vulnerable
Here are two books on courage and what makes a person feel vulnerable that I have found helpful.
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
“Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, BrenÃ© Brown Ph.D., LMSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.”
- Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen
“Are your thoughts holding you captive? I’ll never be good enough. Other people have better lives than I do. God couldn’t really love me. Jennie Allen knows what it’s like to swirl in a spiral of destructive thoughts, but she also knows we don’t have to stay stuck in toxic thinking patterns. Freedom comes when we refuse to be victims to our thoughts and realize we have already been equipped with power from God to fight and win the war for our minds.”
If you have a resource on courage and how to overcome feeling vulnerable, I would love to hear about it in the comments!