The Goodness of Being Exposed and at Risk

I am a very private person. I am fully aware that at times I am hard to read and that it takes awhile to get to know me at a deep level. This is probably a combination of the way I am wired and just good old fashion trust issues…I am working on that. There is nothing wrong with being private but If we take that too far, we will miss some of the best that Jesus has for us. As disciples of Jesus, we need to grow in our ability to be transparent and vulnerable. It is in those moments that God can do some of his greatest work in our lives.

When I look into the life and example of Jesus and Paul it is clear that they modeled a true sense of transparency and vulnerability that impacted those around them. 

Jesus made these statements that show his transparency and vulnerability.

“I have made known to you everything the Father has told me.” John 15:15

“Everything” is a big word.

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38

The King of Kings who had full capacity to care for himself invited those closest to him, his disciples, to know the pain in his soul. He did not have to do that.

In Romans 7, Paul made the confession, “I don’t’ understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good but cannot carry it out.”

One of the strongest men in the New Testament, writing for all of history to know that he struggles with sin.  

Both Jesus and Paul show us that people need to experience the real us even when it is not so nice, neat and easy.

But here is the problem. Vulnerable literally means to be exposed and at risk.  No one likes the sound of that.  It runs counter to everything our culture tells us to be. The world around us tells us to maintain an image of “I’ve got it all together”. We do not want others to think we are weak.  We have thoughts like, “If they find out who I really am then I may lose respect.”  “If they know that I struggle, I will lose influence”.  “I don’t want to be found out.” “What if my weaknesses or faults cause me to lose a friend or a job?”

“What if I am rejected by those who are closest to me?”

This past winter and spring I walked through a long stretch of burnout or near burnout.  It was like nothing I have walked through in 23 years of ministry.  Motivation was gone.  Joy was gone. Focus was gone. I couldn’t put my finger exactly on what was behind it but I knew that I was not good.  Everything in me wanted to keep that to myself. As a private and relatively self-assured person, I did not want people to see my cracks. I did not want to be exposed.

When I finally came to place where I knew I needed to talk with someone it was extremely humbling. It was hard to take the first step of saying “I’m not good”. But what I found in the process was the power of genuine Christian friendship and love. I could have missed out on that.

When we allow a trusted Christian friend into our deepest points of need, the stage is set for us to experience the life changing love of the Family of God.

What I have learned by being transparent and vulnerable:

1. It is hard and scary – You never really know how someone will respond.

2. Once I take the step of faith to be vulnerable I find freedom to let go of many of my fears.

3. It is still hard – The enemy does not want me to become like Jesus.

4. It leads me to be more gracious and experience grace on a deeper level.

5. There is nothing like being the recipient of Christlike love.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. stephenejackson says:

    Great article Doug! Your father was kind enough to share this with me and I’m glad he did. He and I are in a 10 week discussion on “How to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples”. This article went right along with our topic of conversation recently. Do let me know if you are ever in the Gainesville area.

    Prayers from Lakewood!

    Stephen Jackson


    1. Doug Hunt says:

      Thanks Stephen. Grateful for how Lakewood is serving my dad!


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