April McGowan

Games People Play

Walk with MeI’ve been thinking about vulnerability lately. Our society doesn’t like being vulnerable. We admire strong people, go-getters. We don’t gravitate toward the weak, to exposed underbellies or chinks in armor.

As babies, we come into the world trusting and ready to learn. Unfortunately, for many including myself, some of the first hard lessons we learn are that people let you down, betray you, hurt you, and you’d better face the world as a boxer–your guard up, ducking and weaving for cover.

There are all kinds of games people play to keep themselves safe. They build barriers, hiding behind forced smiles and platitudes. How are you? You’re fine. Even if you’re not. Then they go on to act one way with one person, and differently with another. They become evasive and non-committal. They only let a few in past the walls…and secretly they’re pretty certain those folks are going to let them down any minute. In fact, a lot of people are subconsciously waiting to be let down, and might even orchestrate events to prove it. In doing so, they get the result they were so worried about getting.

But being vulnerable doesn’t have to mean we’re weak. If you think about it, being vulnerable goes against our grain. It’s hard work to keep those barriers down. Now, I’m not talking about exposing yourself to people who have hurt you in the past, tossing your pearls before swine. On the contrary, I’m talking about going deeper, trusting more, sharing more honestly with those closest to us, and then branching out.

Does that make you edgy? Do lots of reasons not to let your guard down race through your mind? What about that last time you counted on someone and they let you down? But what about that last time someone didn’t?

That’s where the Lord has been taking me these past few weeks, and it made me plenty edgy. He’s been revealing this weakness in me, turning it to a strength through my submitting it to Him. It’s been hard, but very good, too. God’s pretty amazing that way, using all our brokenness to reveal His love and His glory. His amazing strength.

Jesus knew what it meant to be vulnerable. He made himself available to people of all walks, made himself approachable, and knew what it was like to have those closest to him forget him, deny him, even betray him unto death. But those he was vulnerable with, those he loved freely were changed forever. Imagine for a moment your Savior was unapproachable, closed off, unsympathetic–would you be be drawn to him for any length of time?

Thankfully we have a High Priest who has experienced every part of this life right along with us. Hebrews 4: 15-16 says:  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Is there someone in your life you need to let down your walls for, reach out to, walk closer with? I encourage you to do so. Our journey is much too short to spend it alone.




  1. melodyrobertsMelody
    May 23, 2014

    Beautiful, April!

  2. robertspamela0
    May 23, 2014

    April, thanks for these words that I really needed to hear! God bless you as you continue to serve Him with your amazing talent!

    • April
      May 23, 2014

      Thanks, they were words I needed to hear, too! Many blessings, and thanks for stopping by to say HI.

  3. Jane
    May 24, 2014

    Well put April! Always so good for me to remember! I’m much better at the Jesus never letting ME down thing…but it is always so much more difficult to remember to follow His example of open handed love.
    I love how you used the verse about being tempted in every way. Never thought about Jesus being tempted to close Himself up the way we might tend to do when we are hurt. I always jump to the much bigger temptations in my head. I will be meditating on this today. Thanks for sharing. Very good!

    • April
      May 24, 2014

      I was struck by the same thing, Janet. Whatever our tendencies are, he had to fight against them, too. Part of our human condition. Feeling so grateful for that, and his empathy.

  4. Jan Pierce
    May 24, 2014

    Nicely put, April. It is hard to trust, especially in the areas where our past wounds reside. But the benefits far outweigh the risk.

    • April
      May 24, 2014

      Very hard sometimes, but as I’m learning how, and prayerfully moving ahead, healing comes. The Lord is so faithful.

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