Vulnerability & Emotional Availability – Part 1
DISCLAIMER: Acts 17:11.
Let’s ENGAGE with the WORD and with each other about the WORD.
In one of his songs titled “Alexia’s Interlude”, S.O. spits a bar (a line in a rapper’s lyrics) that highlights the importance of VUNRABILITY in a relationship. The lyric goes as follows: “You’ve got to be vulnerable if you want to love at all”. Now this lyric intrigued me to investigate its validity in the next two blogs. This blog’s, being Part 1, purpose is to define the V.E.A terms and Part 2 looks at the application of these terms in a relationship with God.
Alright, a relationship (plutonic, relative or romantic) is the process of getting to know another individual and the tool used to retrieve that knowledge is vulnerability. The reason for this is found in the definition of VULNERABLE, which is:
Adjective: exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either emotionally or physically.
I get it based on the definition no-one will just volunteer to be in this position as it would result in tears. However, it is important to note that in order to know or be known one has to open up and this could be emotionally, prayer (Jesus at the garden of Getsemane, Matt26:36-46) and in various other ways.
Now as you divulge information about yourself you are indirectly creating this exposure (the use of personal information to cause harm). You can limit the exposure by deciding on the type of information to share and to whom you open up to. However, you need to remember you cannot run away from vulnerability as no man is an island, we need each other (1Cor12:12-26). Thus, it’s important to note that being vulnerable with God is always the best option because He won’t use the information to harm you as it goes against his character and promises (John10:1-21). Furthermore, vulnerability towards other humans can come with the risk of being ‘judged’ or even rejected but with God its completely different as we can be confidently vulnerable with Him (He is all-knowing after-all) knowing that His love for us is based NOT on our performance (Rom5:8). “We are fully known yet truly loved”. God is NOT like man; He is not going to exploit our weaknesses and will never use our flaws against us. In fact, He forgives us and remembers our sins no more when we repent (Heb 8:12). How comforting! So, we can fully and freely be vulnerable with God.
As mentioned, being vulnerable is all about opening up and emotional availability is one of the techniques used to achieve vulnerability. But before we dissect emotional availability let us first define the phrase EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY:
Emotion(noun): a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced, as a strong feeling, directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioural changes in the body.
Available(noun): the quality of being able to be used or obtained.
Now that we have defined emotional availability, let’s move a step closer into understanding the two components that make up emotional availability which are:
- Selfish Component
In this layer, Partner A’s emotional needs are being catered/met by his spouse Partner B. In order for this to happen this requires Partner A to clearly communicate his emotional needs to his spouse.
- Selfless Component
In this layer, Partner A is being considerate of Partner B’s emotional needs (Matt11:28-30, 2Cor1:3-4 & Phil4:6-7).
These components will be explained further in the next blog: Vulnerability & Emotional Availability Part 2.
Lastly, we must always ensure that our decisions are not primarily based on emotions this is due to the fact of emotions being a by-product (effect-element) of an event (cause-element) in principle. Furthermore, emotions are not bad, they just have to be controlled and communicated. I mean God gave them to us and there is a plethora of evidence of God, Himself, expressing emotion in the bible (Matt26:36-46, Ephisians4:30, etc.).