The Vulnerablity Factor
Recently I was asked to speak at an "Equipping the Community" event in southern California. The emphasis of this particular night focused on the dangers youth face and the lure of human trafficking.
One of the things I spoke on was that the most identifiable factor in our kid's lives is their vulnerability. Young people can fall victim to many dangers in the world, and we, as parents, grandparents, mentors, coaches, and guardians need to recognize and respond to that vulnerability in powerful ways.
But as I drove home from that event, I was reflecting on the fact that ANYONE, at any age, can be vulnerable. We can succumb to the wrong voices, negative mindsets, and pressures too. There are so many things that can weigh us down and paralyze us.
What's the answer? Here are just a few foundational ways we can make sure we don't fall victim to vulnerability:
WE ALL need authentic people in our lives that invest not only in our success and well-being but recognize when we are vulnerable. There are no substitutes for powerful and honest relationships. Alternatives can become our work, material things, drugs, or food - but those "things" don't notice when we are in a place of need. Sometimes because of past hurt, we avoid relationships or "getting to close" to people. We must fight against that. If no one is close to us, how can they help us? Seek out, spend time with, and maintain life-giving relationships!
Communication and connection
Take a look at the screenshots on your cell phone. Or, in the case of some of us, pull out the box of pictures you can hold. The people, the places, the moments. That is your story, your journey of connection. As I read old cards, letters, emails, and even text messages, those methods of communication bring life to me. The aspects of communication and connection can keep us going. Knowing someone cares means an awful lot. Loneliness, fear, failure, and other factors can create isolation. Isolation can be dangerous-and can catapult us to a place of vulnerability. I believe we all need time alone to dream, think, and process our life. But when we intentionally stay in touch with, socialize and interact with others, we can protect ourselves.
Let the Right Voices In
I have always been fascinated by the movies where the characters need a high-security clearance to enter specific places. Whether they have to use a handprint or eye recognition to enter restricted areas. It struck me that the voices around us can have access to how we feel, and CAN, in some circumstances, contribute to our vulnerability. You may have a co-worker, neighbor, or friend who doesn't notice or care about your well being. Only allow those voices restricted access. May I encourage you toward unrestricted access to those who make an effort, those who add value to your life and genuinely care. Surround yourself with people who invest in you and speak life. Our mindset and outlook can change when the voices in our lives are positive ones.
The vulnerability factor is something that affects the direction our lives take, no matter how old you are. Safeguard yourself and the young people in your life. When you feel, or sense vulnerability in someone, make sure to reach IN and help.