by Jimmy Pruitt
When I meet a person who seems to have it all together, the right looks, the right posture, the right bank account, the right behavior, the right car, the right profession, the right… everything, my response is, in the words of an overplayed cliche, “Sir, step slowly away from the vehicle.” In other words, I want to avoid that person. Why? Because, in my experience, it’s just not real, authentic or genuine.
One of life’s greatest treasures is the connections we make with one another. If a person is disingenuous, then there cannot be an authentic and honest connection. The facade and veneer of “I have it all together” will not allow the necessary vulnerability that it takes to truly connect at the most personal level.
My desire is to be a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. I don’t always live this way. Sometimes, due to my own insecurities and unhealthy desire to be liked by everyone, I will put on the mask, slip on the facade and paint on the veneer hoping I will make a good impression. Ugh. I walk away from those weak moments disgusted with myself for not taking the risk of being vulnerable and missing an opportunity to connect at a deeper level.
As I read the Bible, I see rampant vulnerability throughout the text. This gives me great hope. To know that God used weak, frail and broken people to deliver the greatest message of faith, hope and love the world has known and will ever know inspires me to keep chiseling away at the stoney facade that hides and covers the real me.
Those who are prone to religious thinking bristle at the humanity and vulnerability of the characters recorded in scripture. It’s easier to ignore and neglect the passages that record raging doubts, fears, insecurities, questions, failures and sin. Not me. I need to know that I’m in good company among the ragtag cast of characters of the greatest story ever told. It gives me courage and resolve to keep walking through the valley of the shadow of death as opposed to pitching a tent in the darkest place of my own soul.
Many years ago, Annette and I made a commitment to each other and to God that whatever the cost we would live as authentically and transparently as possible, even knowing that in some church circles it is not always what is preferred. We have stayed true to that commitment and I can say that we have paid a price for that level of vulnerability. It would be more appreciated in a bar than most churches. I wouldn’t change a thing. After all, as I read my Bible we are in good company and the connections, relationships and friendships we have made are worth more than the purest gold.
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
“Where is your God? Psalm 42:3