Models of Life (The Authentic “Hero”)
We can receive great encouragement from the way others live their lives. This is particularly so when we see them giving expression to values to which we aspire.
Nouwen states: We need to model those we would not readily classify as heroes …. laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to others as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of Life.
The model promotes the vulnerable leader. It elevates authenticity above power and influence.
My Reflection: Over the course of my life I’ve had a few people in my life that I seemed to admire or idolized as models. Whether it was their courage I saw, their boldness, achievements, prosperity, charisma, or education, that list can go on and on. But were they really vulnerable with me? Did I only see the strong side of them? Were they authentic when it came down to the realness of life… They won’t.
This made me think of how eager we are for a hero, a guide in our lives and how dangerous it is when we focus only on the efficiency and accomplishments of others. What image are we taking away and how do we build a life of our own only on the strong characteristics of others and not the broken side. How do we live out that perfection? What have we learned?
When I first came to my church, I heard my pastor use the word “vulnerability” alot. And he lived it out from the pulpit. He shares his life and his brokenness. In Spite of all the perfect models I’ve had in the course of my life, I listened and envied him. You see, I wished I had that open space to just be me in all my faults and failures. To put myself out there unashamedly, with all my brokenness and feel ok because I am whole in Christ and not have to live in the “bubble of perfection”. We often learn “don’t show the brokenness”.
Slowly he challenged me to get there….I’ve come a long way and still going. I even wondered why in the first place did I even idolize those individuals, why were they my models?
Being vulnerable is scary. But the freedom in being you, the freedom in letting go of your past, the freedom in not being ashamed, letting go the guilt, the judgement and the self condemnation and walking embodied in the love of Christ is priceless! I’ve learned that to be me I must be vulnerable. I must be open with my life to be any kind of light or hope for others, open for Christ to fill me and use me. To come out the box that the enemy had me so nicely wrapped in, thinking I had to be perfect to come out. We don’t have to be!!