The Power of Vulnerability — “Authenticity” explained

I attended Forerunner Church’s “Winter Conference” in the Christmas weekend.  I am overwhelmed with the number of participants. This conference is particularly for men (brothers). Lots of men had been hurt from childhood and showed brokenness in adult life. The heavy pressures in working places and the desires to keep up social & wealth status caused many men to indulge in alcohol, drugs, internet porn and other addictive behaviors.

In the morning session on Saturday (25th), Pastor Chiang invited several church members to give testimonies. I am deeply moved by the testimony of a career successful, middle-aged man. He admitted touching pornography before converting to Christianity. Though he was stopped after baptism, he started again when he became a full-time church teacher. Joining FRC, he found that his problem is originated in his childhood from his father’s mistreatment. Finally, he got healed in FRC. The secret is not to use man-made methods, but to fill his heart with the love from our heavenly father and to focus on Jesus. The amazing part of this is instead of condemning, FRC healed him with compassion and love. His testimony was well received in the conference.

At the end of this session, Pastor Chiang called the “brothers” to the altar for receiving God’s healing  – one side is for those deeply entrenched in achieving “perfectness” and the other side for those struggled to overcome “addictions” , particularly porn, alcohol and drugs.

Before this session, Pastor Martina delivered a message on “Orphan’s Heart” which deals with many problems that many men are facing as results of childhood hurts by their parents and the authorities.

The messages awakened me spiritually, helped me to understand both myself deeper and to learn vital elements of counseling – “How to deal with shame and unworthiness?” and “How to connect with people?” It seems that God want me to learn more and gave me the opportunity to watch a video clip from TED –


In our Taiwan mission (VGM) trip this October, we talked about “AUTHENTICITY.” Here, Brene Brown spoke about “How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?”

Both in “mission” trips and engaging in “counseling” sessions, we are CONNECTING” with people. If we cannot be authentic or if we feel unworthiness, there is no way we can give people God’s “good news” as the gifts.

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Below is an outline that I drafted from Dr. Brown’s seminar:

1.            Connection — Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

2.            Shame —

Shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection. What underpinned this shame, this “I’m not good enough.”

The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection.

3.            Vulnerability —

The thing that underpinned this “shame” is excruciating vulnerability.

This idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.

Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it seems that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.

4.            Worthiness –

The part that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we’re not worthy of connection.

People who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging.

What they had in common was a sense of courage — to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart — The courage to be imperfect.

They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others.

They had connection as a result of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.

5.            We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.

The problem — We selectively numb emotion

Why and how we numb?

Addiction

Make “uncertain” certain

Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty.  I’m right, you’re wrong. Shut up.

The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are the more afraid we are. This is what politics looks like today.

How blame is described in the research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort.

6.            We perfect, most dangerously to our children – What we should do instead?

Our job is to look to them and say, “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

We just need you to be authentic and real and say, “We’re sorry. We’ll fix it.”

To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee.

The most important, is to believe that we’re enough.

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability – http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

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