“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown
Been reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly off and on and I come across gems like this quote above. Typically leadership and vulnerability are not seen as good bedfellows. Leaders are supposed to be perceived by their followers as unflappable and strong, never at risk of losing it and having no identifiable weakness. If that is your definition or aim of leadership, then welcome to the world of fairy tales, and you may be the main character. However, if you are wiling to have the courage to embrace your vulnerability as opportunity, then you can also be the Alice to jump in the rabbit hole and see just how deep the wonderland goes. It’s very possible (even likely) that the breakthrough you are looking for is on the other side of vulnerability, not around it. Embracing your vulnerability may be the key to unlock your creative impulses; necessity is the mother of invention.
As a personal example, about 13 years ago, I planted a different kind of church called Ordinary Community that came out of a very vulnerable place for me. People often ask me why or how I did it, how I left “successful” paid vocational ministry to do something I didn’t know if anyone else was doing. What I can tell you is that I didn’t do it out of a place of strength, stability or security. It wasn’t a foolproof business plan, it wasn’t tested first, it wasn’t conventional or popular. I was scared to death. I did it out of desperation, brokenness, fear, longing and a little touch of vision. Through unintentionally embracing my vulnerability, I found the spiritual hope and home I was looking for. In fact Ordinary Community has birthed innovation, creativity and change hundreds of times since through similar bouts of vulnerability.
We do not have membership, you opt in out of a place of need. What we’ve learned together is that we don’t have a clue. But in having the courage to embrace our vulnerabilities together, we are not alone, and that spurs us on to deeper experiences of the truth of who we are and why we are here to begin with. I’m finding the truth as I journey with a close-knit community of Christ-followers that I couldn’t get in a system of predetermined strategies I used to call church. My only advice is to have the courage to embrace your vulnerability—it may be the key to unlocking the truth and hope you are looking for. The best of learning often happens on the other side of tension. Go ahead and push in.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Valerie Hinojosa