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When Being Strong Hurts: Embracing Vulnerability as a Christian

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

In a world that often values strength and resilience, the concept of vulnerability can seem counterintuitive, especially for Christians who strive to embody faith, courage, and endurance. However, the truth is that there are moments when being strong can actually hurt us, preventing us from experiencing the fullness of God's grace and power. In this article, we will explore the importance of embracing vulnerability as a Christian and provide five practical tips for finding safe spaces where you can let your guard down and experience the strength that comes from acknowledging your weaknesses.

A lady who needs Christian counselling in 60637 when it hurts too much to be strong and wants to embrace vulnerability

I. The Paradox of Strength and Weakness

As Christians, we often find ourselves inspired by verses that highlight strength and courage. One such verse is found in Joshua 1:9 (NIV), where God encourages Joshua: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." While this verse teaches us to trust in God's presence during challenges, it's important to recognize that our strength does not come solely from our ability to stand tall and unyielding.

The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, offers profound insight into the paradox of strength and weakness. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV), he writes, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." Paul's words remind us that it is in our moments of weakness that God's strength shines through.

II. The Pressure to Be Strong

In our pursuit of spiritual growth and the desire to be a witness to others, we may unintentionally create a facade of strength. This pressure to be strong can lead to emotional and spiritual exhaustion, leaving us feeling isolated and distant from God. The truth is, we are not meant to carry our burdens alone. Galatians 6:2 (NIV) emphasizes the importance of bearing one another's burdens: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ."

III. Embracing Vulnerability

Vulnerability, though uncomfortable, is essential for our growth as Christians. When we open ourselves up to others and admit our weaknesses, we create an environment for authentic relationships to flourish. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) teaches us, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." It is through our vulnerabilities that we allow others to come alongside us, providing comfort, encouragement, and shared experiences.

IV. Finding Safe Spaces

While vulnerability is crucial, it's important to find safe spaces where you can express your struggles without fear of judgment or condemnation. Here are five tips for creating such spaces:

  • Community of Trust: Seek out a small group or community of believers who prioritize openness and support. Acts 2:46-47 (NIV) describes the early church's devotion to fellowship: "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts."

  • Spiritual Mentoring: Find a mentor or spiritual guide who can provide guidance and wisdom during times of vulnerability. Proverbs 1:5 (NIV) says, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance."

  • Counseling or Therapy: Professional counseling or therapy can provide a confidential and nonjudgmental space for processing emotions and challenges. Proverbs 11:14 (NIV) advises, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers."

  • Prayer Partners: Partner with a friend for regular prayer and accountability. James 5:16 (NIV) reminds us, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

  • Transparent Worship: Engage in transparent worship and prayer where you pour out your heart to God, acknowledging your weaknesses. Psalm 34:18 (NIV) assures us, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Unveiling God's Strength Through Vulnerability

In a culture that promotes strength and self-sufficiency, Christians must recognize the beauty and necessity of vulnerability. When we open ourselves to God and others, we create spaces for His grace and strength to shine through our weaknesses. As 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV) boldly declares, "For when I am weak, then I am strong." By embracing vulnerability and finding safe spaces for sharing our struggles, we can experience the transformative power of God's presence and foster authentic connections within our faith communities.

In the grand tapestry of our lives, it's often the threads of vulnerability that weave the most profound and enduring connections. May we, as followers of Christ, learn to embrace these threads, allowing them to reveal the intricate beauty of God's strength perfected in our weakness.


If you are looking for a Christian counselor who will provide you with a safe space to be honest about your pain, visit faithonthejourney.org/counseling


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