Last night at youth, we talked about surrender. We talked about how God calls us to do things that require us to let go of our own ideas and surrender to His. How even Jesus in the Garden on the last night of his life had to surrender to the Father’s will. God calls us to live our lives in surrender to Him.
We were challenged to pray an “anything prayer.”
“God, I’ll do anything…”
But, it’s not just enough to pray that prayer. We must also be willing to surrender our lives to Him in order to do that “anything.”
As a secondary point to all this, we talked about the idea of vulnerability. How surrendering to God requires us to be vulnerable. God highlighted for me, through our Youth Director Melissa, a new definition of vulnerability:
“Freedom to be completely dependent solely on God.” — Melissa Nelms
Freedom…dependent….Like moss is dependent on trees and rocks.
As we broke into our small groups to discuss these topics, I began by asking the Junior High Boys that make up my group, “Tell me about this idea of vulnerability… What do you think of with when you hear that word?”
They began to talk about vulnerability in terms of Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star (“someone should have put a piece of cardboard over that hole”), and Superman’s “Achilles’ Heel” of Kryptonite.
Vulnerability to them was a bad thing. A negative.
Something that would get your heart broken. That would allow your archenemy to destroy you. Decrease your hit points. Something that would get your Death Star obliterated.
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:1), tells us that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” For freedom you have been set free.
Complete surrender must be preceded by vulnerability.
Yet, we have to leave this cultural definition of vulnerability being a bad thing behind. We must embrace the beauty of vulnerability as a freedom to be completely dependent on God. We have to change our thinking so that we come to understand the beauty of a life lived in that place of complete surrender and vulnerability.
When we walk out this idea of vulnerability as a freedom to be dependent completely on God, we are faced with the challenge to allow God to use others in the process of redeeming parts of our story. Because our spiritual formation is best walked out in community, vulnerability means that others in our community will know our stories—all of it.
It also requires that we allow others the space and freedom to be vulnerable with us. That we allow them to speak. That we quiet ourselves and listen.
There are parts of our stories that need redemption. And, for some of these stories, that redemption can only come through the community of faith by which we are surrounded. But, this will require us to be vulnerable—free to depend on God for redemption of those stories.
Can I be vulnerable for a moment?
I’m not very good at this definition of vulnerability. I’m not always so quick to open up to allow others to share in the redemption of my stories. I’m learning what this looks like. I’m learning what it means. I’m learning how to be more open to the prompting of Holy Spirit to know when it’s time to be vulnerable and when it’s time to not be.
But, more importantly, I’m not very good at this idea of being vulnerable to God. I still want to control a whole lot of things. I still want to make my plans and ask Him to make them succeed. Yet, He calls us to yield to His plan—to be completely and solely dependent on Him.
Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”
He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?”