A Lesson from My Cat - Creating Joy Through Vulnerability

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“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”

- Mother Teresa

Felines do not lightly expose their bellies. If a cat has not had a safe and healthy upbringing, their belly is the last thing they will want pet. It's not personal, it is just a "defensive boundary." Don't get the wrong idea, if a cat can feel safe they LOVE having their belly rubbed, it's just that hard for them to trust. Likewise, we only experience our deepest peace and joy with others when we can be vulnerable, but it's so hard for us to trust.

Something's Gotta Give

When two people don’t trust each other, someone has to make the “sacrificial” move if there is going to be any reconciliation. Part of following Christ is being willing to go out-on-a-limb for others. Yes, we may get hurt, but that hurt is what we bring to God in prayer. It is our “sweet incense” which we offer up in gratitude for the sacrifice he made for us.

Without this act, the world would only grow more and more hostile. It is the many individuals who make this choice who are the “salt of the earth,” keeping our world sane. Once there is fear and mistrust, there can only be more fear and mistrust. Suspicion is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think people will betray or leave you, they will eventually grow discouraged and do just that. If we never trust anyone, there is no way for them to build trust with us.

The Joy of Trust

Trust is what brings us joy in a relationship. To feel trust and confidence in another person is a connected deeper than any other. Intimacy can even be defined as as two people trusting each other completely, no matter what relationship context that trust is in. The problem for most people is they LOOK for someone they can trust instead of BUILDING trust.

When we trust people we get to let down our guard, expose our bellies, and enjoy the freedom of being known and loved for who we are. This is the very definition of “true love.” However, the miserable and the desperate are those who live their whole lives expecting this from others, but never giving it to anyone.

Vulnerability Builds Trust

We have to stop expecting trust, and start giving it. I am not saying to be careless, but I am saying that trust is not something we will simply “come across.” When we are dealing with family, friends, and loved ones, we have to be willing to always take the first step to build those bridges of trust. We may get taken advantage of, we may get lied to, and we will get hurt. However, the joy we will have in victory will outweigh any defeat. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, it is a great and powerful spiritual strength.

Time Out

What does someone have to do to earn your trust?

How many people have earned your trust?

How do you help people learn to trust you?

What hurt has kept you from being vulnerable?

Do you take the first step to be transparent or do you wait for others to trust you first?