Thoughts on Brene Brown

Posted by Lauren Sparks on October 25, 2013 at 6:35 PMWith a doctorate in Social Work and extensive research on vulnerability and shame, Brene Brown is a fascinating woman - or one scary broad - depending on where you are in your life.  If you haven't heard of her, you either aren't a big fan of TED talks (she has given two very popular ones) or you haven't found the OWN Network on your cable provider (Oprah has featured her).  She also has written a best selling book called "Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to be Vulnerable transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead".  I am reading it right now and it is fascinating.  I would recommend it and I highly recommend the few minutes it would take to watch her TED talks.  Those talks have led to much acclaim for Ms. Brown.  She has since been asked to speak for audiences ranging from parenting groups, school children and Fortune 500 companies.  It may not sound like fun to listen to a "researcher", but she is also a story teller.  The coolest thing about her findings, in my opinion, is that she combines years of research with her own personal experiences.  The reason she is so compelling, is because the things she has discovered about how to live your best life have been a major challenge for her.  She even experienced a full scale emotional breakdown (self-proclaimed) as her research pointed to the willingness to be vulnerable with others as the most important element in being a successful leader, parent, friend, and spouse.  The thought that she was going to have to let all her ugly hang out terrified her to the core.  So in her writing and speaking, she not only tells us what we need to do, according to her research, she also explains how she processed and struggled with it.  

One of the biggest things Brene says she learned from her "spiritual awakening" (aka breakdown) was that vulnerability is not the same as weakness.  Agreed.  It takes great courage to completely open yourself up and be who you truly are with those around you.  There is no other way to develop real intimacy and connectedness, for which we are all hard-wired.  We have to be strong enough in our own sense of worthiness to face possible rejection if we put it all out there.  Ms. Brown's work has given me so much to think about, but I have to disagree with her on something.  She alludes to weakness being a negative trait.  I think most people would agree with her, but I don't believe the Bible does.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10  Paul says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Without weakness, we could not completely understand our need for God.  And we do need God.  Not just for an afterlife, but for a full life here on earth.  Who better than the creator of the universe to help us manuever our days on the 3rd rock from the sun.  And when we acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own and lean on God's power to help us, we bring glory to Him.  We allow others to see Him working in us.  I am stubborn.  I admit that I often try on my own and fail before I release things over to God - especially in parenting.  I am prideful.  I would much rather brag about myself than boast about my weaknesses.  But the truth is that bragging on myself is really bragging on God, because I have no strength except Him in me.  So I may as well give credit where credit is due.  And He deserves all honor and praise.

"Daring Greatly" is challenging me to be even more authentic and vulnerable.  We are all sinners in a fallen world and we all make mistakes.  I want my relationships to be intimate and I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles.  And I am also challenging myself to boast in my weaknesses.  If you see anything good in me, let me tell you right now that it is from the Lord.  Any victory in my life is His.  And the negative things you see in me?  Give me some grace, because He's not through with me yet.