Feeling vulnerable is not a sentiment I enjoy. Recently I experienced a situation which made me evaluate how I come to terms with vulnerability and if courage is a position I am able to take.
Vulnerability can be Unexpected
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.
I was not expecting this flood of angst to start hitting me in this very normal, safe situation.
Feeling Vulnerable can Lead us to 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 felt 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 trust God to help us maintain our peace.
Situations that can Create Feelings of Vulnerability
- 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
When we encounter any of these situations, taking courage is not our dominant thought. It’s usually avoidance, anger, distraction or retreat. But there is another way.
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.
Comfort and Peace when we Feel Vulnerable
We are guaranteed to face situations where we need courage (rational or not).
Jesus waits to comfort us if we stop,
call out to Him (audibly or in our spirit),
and listen to His voice.
With God’s help we can balance our uneasy feelings with calm and steady feelings as we walk through uncomfortable situations.
For additional insights on vulnerability and courage https://www.amazon.com/Daring-Greatly-Courage-Vulnerable-Transforms/dp/1592408419
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.
“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.”
“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 1:3-4
For further reading on overcoming fear: Take a leap of faith
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write about inspiring faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she developed ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.