This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.
Our theme in week one is Vulnerability. Although all power and authority was his, Jesus came to earth as a helpless and dependent baby. The incarnation leads us to be vulnerable, willing to open up our lives, to be honest about our questions, fears, and hopes, and depend on others in our need. We also seek to care for those who are vulnerable.
Relational Living for Vulnerable People
I grew up learning to be extremely independent. To me, successful independence meant that if I could figure out solutions to my own issues without disrupting anyone else, and then I would be a valuable contributor. As a first born and designed to please, independence was not only a survival skill, it became a constant goal.
This path of independence led me to follow God across the country for college where I expressed pride in my own abilities and showed resentment when my work was unappreciated. Often, I felt the need for control, and superior for not needing others. I believed that letting others into my life would slow me down, and as a result, I preferred to keep to myself. I truly thought that giving my best to God meant that I needed to know and protect what was best for me, even at another’s expense. I was wrong.
While at college, I was overtaken by grief and made aware of my anxiety, depression, and need for others. Over the next ten years, God used these physical and emotional struggles to draw me near to himself and into community with his Church. God brought me before brothers and sisters in Christ who were safe, loyal, and would speak truth to me even when it was hard to hear and follow. God surrounded me in love through people to support me when I wasn’t able to love and support myself.
My life now is better than I could have hoped for on my own. God continues
to reveal that I no longer need only to survive and that I can trust in his sovereignty; life in him frees me from my false understanding of success and allows me to worship each day living in his presence and in connection with my Church community. Living well in connection is not easy; it involves showing up, sacrifice, and needing much grace. Relational living is an ongoing choice, and Jesus made the ultimate choice. His example of coming to earth to subject himself to human limitations and weaknesses and pursue a restored communion between God and mankind, encourages me to also choose to live in community and share life with others in our needs and weaknesses.
What’s a small step you can take this month to enter more deeply into relational living?
Story by Kate Hayashi
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