I am excited to announce the release of my second publication: Vulnerability: Blessing in the Beatitudes.
Back Story: It was one of those times when I was questioning myself as a counselor. I had several counselees who lacked vulnerability. When I suggested this was central to their relational or emotional struggles, they either resisted the notion or pushed back, “How do you fix that?”
Was this a worthwhile counseling focus? How did you grow in vulnerability? In the moment I couldn’t think of a “go to passage” on vulnerability or methodology to help someone move in that direction. I didn’t like the sense of being ineffective, wrong, or viewed as incompetent. I was feeling “vulnerable” and I didn’t like it. Why was I wanting this for those I was trying to help?
That left me scrambling for the answer to two questions. Is vulnerability biblical? If it is, how do you get there? Those questions took me somewhere I didn’t expect – the beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12). I noticed that Jesus started His most famous sermon affirming the very traits I wanted for my counselees.
I wanted them to be “poor in spirit” (v. 3) instead of trying to put on a persona of having it all together. They needed to be able to “mourn” (v. 4) the loss of things that were meaningful to them instead of feeling the need to be tough. They were searching for “meekness” (v. 5) instead of vacillating between weakness and false strength.
I realized I was trying to counsel the rest of the Sermon on the Mount – dealing with anger (Matt. 5:21-26), lust (Matt. 5:27-30), honesty (Matt. 5:33-37), responding to suffering (Matt. 5:38-48), etc… without beginning where Jesus began.
My counselees didn’t just disagree with Jesus. They feared what He called “blessed.” How could we make any progress? They looked at what Jesus offered and felt repelled more than drawn. I was fumbling for words to describe as beautiful what Jesus laid as the foundation for healthy relationships and emotions.
That led to an extended time of reflection and meditation on the beatitudes. I began to read them, not as awkward poetry, but through the eyes of someone who both desperately needed and feared what Jesus said. I found the ability to speak to my counselees as an “insider” with the words of Jesus.
I realized vulnerability is not primarily something you “do” but something you “are.” Jesus used nouns in the beatitudes, not verbs. My counselees didn’t need action steps. They (and I) needed to know safety when they felt weak and to know peace when they felt uncertain.
That begins with slowing down – vulnerability is the tortoise, not the hare. So I wrote an article which became this booklet as a reflective devotional through the beatitudes. It is challenging because it asks us to see as beautiful some of Jesus’ most counter-intuitive teaching and apply it to our most profound insecurities.
But my prayer is that this booklet will be used by God to take the gospel message to the core of many people’s emotional and relational struggles as they embrace Jesus’ words to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).”
You can purchase a pre-order copy now on Amazon.
You can preview four sample pages through P&R.
You can also review other booklets in The Gospel for Real Life series.