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So, How Is It With You? by Jim Banks

So,  how is it with you? We’ve all had those inquiries from friends we haven’t seen in a while, or from an acquaintance looking to start conversation, or even in a Facebook message from folks wanting to catch up with us. We sit back and take stock quickly and formulate a response that often paints a picture that isn’t nearly as reflective of all our feelings and circumstances as it could be.  Certainly it contains no secrets and nothing socially incriminating. Who does that anyway?  It just goes with the territory. That’s the way we’ve learned to play it.

But what if Jesus were to walk into your protective environment with two cups of coffee, sit down opposite you and ask the same question?  You know he knows it all anyway, so you can’t BS him. What would you say? How honest could you get?  Where would you start?  Would you be comfortable in telling him where you are and what you’re struggling with?

This is a dilemma we are all familiar with, whether it’s with Jesus or a close friend.  How little can I say and still get across what I’m dealing with and yet keep the details to an absolute minimum; we want them to be concerned for us but don’t really want them to get actively involved because then … we’ll be vulnerable.

We all want to be known, or appreciated and even understood, but we want it without the vulnerability. And yet vulnerability is precisely what makes friendship and community the valuable commodity that it is.  It’s the foundational element of all significant relationships. It is the heart and soul of valuable communication.  The problem with vulnerability is that it carries with it the specter of shame; shame that I’m not good enough, not competent enough, not smart enough, or that I am just wrong, and possibly have been for a long time. If they knew what I know about me … I’ll be open to rejection.

True community has to begin with each of us and so does vulnerability. Without it there is no reciprocation of vulnerability and thus, no community, no real friendship.  We’d just be a bunch of loosely connected strangers.  Someone has to go first.  If you choose not to cross that barrier you are tacitly giving another permission to avoid breaking it as well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That’s the bottom line. Jesus said, “I am come that you may have life and life abundant.”  Acquaintance-level friendship and community is not real life – and the only thing that it is abundant about it is isolation.

I challenge you to do with people what you have chosen to do with your art, be vulnerable with people. You have taken the risk to reap gratification of expression through your chosen medium.  Make a similar choice today to be vulnerable with those around you so that you can also reap the joy of giving others permission to be vulnerable with you.  From vulnerability will flow life because you have chosen to share yours.  You need it; they need it; so just do it!

By Jim Banks,

Jim and Pat Banks lead House of Healing Minstries – an international ministry focused on equipping churches, ministries and individuals to minister healing to the spirit, soul and body. Pat has a passion for teaching creative people how to operate out of their spirit and commune with the Holy Spirit in their creative process.
Jim is the author of The Effects of Trauma and How to Deal with It and the developer of a prayer tool called the Trauma Prayer, which has been ministered to hundreds of people with astounding results to virtually eliminate symptoms of trauma, with many experiencing instantaneous and permanent relief.