“The foundation of courage is vulnerability . . . we have to show up and put ourselves out there.”- Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness
“Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.”- Psalm 139:14 (NASB)
In Chapter 11 (“The Comfort of Being Known”) of Transforming Loneliness, Ruth Graham tells the story of Alison Owen-Jones. One day, while Alison walked her dog at the city park in her hometown of Cardiff, UK, she observed a man sitting alone on a park bench. He appeared to be people watching. However, after forty minutes had passes, no one except Alison noticed the man.
But even though Alison’s British reserve kept her from chatting with the man, it birthed an idea within her. She put a laminated sign on a park bench that said ‘Chat Bench’. People started to sit and chat. Next, social media took notice. As a result, people from Canada, the US, Australia, Switzerland, and the Ukraine reached out. Because, Ruth believes, Alison tapped into a core need all humans share – longing for others to know us. And as memoirist Melissa Forbes writes:
“There are few experiences as powerful as articulating your vulnerability in the presence of another.”
So, Ms. Graham asks, do you honestly think it’s possible for Jesus to satisfy your loneliness? Certainly, friendship with Jesus satisfies your deepest longings to be fully known and unconditionally loved. Yet, such a relationship doesn’t replace your longing for a human friend. But it does provide you with a firm foundation that nourishes your need for intimacy.
Yet, Ruth notes, far too many people find their spiritual relationship too removed from earthly life. Or too weighed down with emotional baggage.
Hence, Ruth counsels, it takes time with Jesus to create that bond. Above all, it also takes time in the Word.
Finally, Ms. Graham asks, does your soul know it ‘very well’? Rather, like Ruth states, her soul needs to know ‘it’ a whole lot better.
Today’s question: What most provides your foundation of courage? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Up close and personal – open arms”