"Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection." (Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, pg. 53)
When I first read those two sentences, I had to go back and read them a few more times. The truth of them really began to sink in.
The more I serve God in the ministry He has called me to, the more I realize how much people are longing for real connection with others. They want people to know who they really are, not just know the person they put out there on Facebook or Twitter.
But they're also afraid of being vulnerable. It's a risk to share your story, but, it's only when we have the courage to share all of our story that we can experience real connection. We have to be courageous enough to risk vulnerability.
In the book, The Gift of Imperfection, Brene Brown describes that authenticity this way,
"Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen." (pg. 49)
When we choose authenticity, we are choosing to risk being vulnerable. It's a courageous choice we make.
And I believe it's the only choice we can make if we're going to fight against the loneliness of our culture. If we continue to just hide behind the façade of our social media accounts, we will remain lonely. No one will really know us and we won't really know anyone else either.
Sharing our story - the good and the bad - will require courage on our part. But it is when we choose to take that courageous step to be authentic that we discover the things that connect us to other people in a meaningful way.