As a member of the charismatic movement, I must say that it's not until recently that I realized that "breakthrough" in my life has had more to do with vulnerability than with a deep longing or prayer or more spiritual practices. What an offensive statement, I know, but as I look at life-transforming moments in my life, where I was totally wrecked by God, I realize that God broke through in times where I had given up fighting. These were moments of vulnerability where I allowed the Lord to do whatever He wanted to do, in spite of how I felt about it.
We are made up of spirit, body, and soul. Often as charismatics, we focus on the spirit, but we do very little to see that our soul is healed. What is the soul? The soul is that part of you that makes up your mind, will, and emotions. It's your personality and where your personal preferences in life are decided. How is your soul shaped? Experiences in life, whether good or bad, are what shapes the soul. Even as simple as what we fear, or choices that we make on a daily basis are all affected or influenced by the soul. After pastoring and counseling for many years, I've found that the majority of the believer's problems with addictions, relationships, and bondages reside in the soul, for the most part. As far as breakthrough is concerned, quite often breakthrough requires a surrender in not only our spirit, but also the soul. In the scriptures, breakthrough whether spiritual or in the natural, only came when people were in a vulnerable position.
I have wrestled with vulnerability my whole life. In the last year I've been on a journey to discover my struggle with vulnerability and to process what that looks like for me. I used to think that because I'm so transparent, that I had no struggle with vulnerability. I've recently come to understand that transparency and vulnerability are not the same thing in my life. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm an over-sharer and I don't mind talking about anything. It's always been natural for me not to care what people think of me, which makes it easy for me to be transparent. I know that sounds like a noble thing, but it is such a blessing and a curse. My natural tendency to be transparent is what hinders me in identifying where I lack vulnerability.
So what is vulnerability? Webster gives us some historical context for the word vulnerability that I think helps to shed light on it's definition
Vulnerable is ultimately derived from the Latin noun vulnus ("wound"). "Vulnus" led to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning "to wound," and then to the Late Latin adjective vulnerabilis, which became "vulnerable" in English in the early 1600s. "Vulnerable" originally meant "capable of being physically wounded" or "having the power to wound."
I define vulnerability as putting one's self in a position that allows for hurt, wounding, or pain. I'm not saying that you have to be in pain every time you want to experience a vulnerable moment. But I am saying that the potential for pain has to be present in order to fully experience vulnerability. This further helps me to understand the difference between vulnerability and transparency. Transparency and vulnerability are not the same. Transparency is disclosure, but vulnerability is exposure. For me, transparency is easy because I can control it. I control how much of it to give, and when to give. But vulnerability is found in the unplanned moments of life. Vulnerability can't be manufactured. You can create space by which vulnerability can manifest, but when it comes to vulnerability, you can't create it, you can only embrace it.
I've even had to learn that vulnerability is most often found in places where no words are exchanged. Vulnerability is the 13 year old girl playing the piano in front her entire school for her first recital. It's the 24 year old pastor who is deathly afraid because he's planting his first church. Vulnerability is even found in the married person who reaches out to their spouse for physical intimacy, wondering if their partner fully accepts them. It's also found in those awkward and uncomfortable silences where it's just you and the Lord in a room, waiting. Vulnerability is about learning to sit in those uncomfortable moments in life, where we no longer have control over how we will be perceived or how situations will turn out. And without this type of vulnerability there is no deep connection with God or man. Every sincere and meaningful relationship requires that you risk hurt and pain in order that you may fully show up in a moment.
This is the beauty of King David's vulnerable writings. He doesn't hold back in telling God that he feels betrayed, and just as well, David has no problem celebrating the moments where he feels that God has really come through for him. What's wrong with David? Is he emotionally disturbed with all the ups and downs? No! David has chosen to be vulnerable with the Lord. For example, David expresses himself in the beginning of Psalm 6, "My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?...I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears." But then he turns around in the same chapter and says, "Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame."
The way that David chose to live was in full exposure. This is what I believe was the key to his success as a King. David was far from perfect, and he didn't mind people knowing. David throughout his life and writings chose to expose himself like no other King before him had ever done. Kings normally made sure to never expose their own weaknesses and frailties for fear that someone would take advantage of them. But as it concerns David, the more he exposed himself spiritually, emotionally, and even physically (2 Samuel 6), the stronger he became as a leader and the closer to God he became. Even in 2 Samuel 12 when Nathan calls out David and his sin, David embraces this extremely vulnerable moment and he repents before the Lord, and the Lord keeps His hand on David. Remember in 1 Samuel 28, Saul gets called out for his sin, but instead of embracing this vulnerable moment of weakness, he fights It and makes excuses, and God snatches the kingdom from him.
So I ask you this; What's your relationship with vulnerability? Are you being held back from spiritual growth because you haven't chosen to practice vulnerability? When's the last time you had an honest talk with God about where you're at? When's the last time you stopped talking and sat in silence to wait for God to speak? I bet that there are a lot of things that are being withheld in your relationships with God and with men, because vulnerability is not yet a value for you. I wonder if the breakthrough that you're fasting for is right on the other side of vulnerability. Maybe you are simply one vulnerable moment away from having a life changing moment in your walk with God.
Take some time today and ponder the role that vulnerability has in your life. I promise you that your breakthrough is waiting on you to be fully exposed. Bring all of you to the table and see what happens. Bring your fears, worries, and all of the inner workings of your heart to the Lord. He's not afraid of it. He's waiting for you to surrender all of that, so that in exchange, He can give you breakthrough.
About The Author:
Pastor Del Augusta is the founder of The Collide, which is a para church ministry that seeks to birth revival in this generation through conferences, seminars, and spiritual gatherings.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Del lost his mother at the age of four to death and was raised by his grandmother in a Pentecostal church in San Francisco. He accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 12 and began his ministry at 14.
For the past 11 years of ministry Del’s message has been marked with a humorous yet prophetic edge. Having travelled to over 10 countries preaching the gospel, Del’s desire is to see this generation come alive to Jesus in a sustainable way. Known for abruptness, Del believes that this generation is not waiting for more Sunday morning church services where we babysit the youth while the adults do their things. Del’s dream is to see churches awaken to the call to take over the world for Jesus without apology.