Yesterday, in our Sacrament meeting a young couple spoke and shared an idea that I have been thinking about and decided to expound on. It is the word, "Vulnerability"

I turned to the dictionary to find out the meaning of the word:
  1. Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt.
  2. Open to temptation, persuasion, censure, etc.
  3. Liable or exposed to disease, disaster, etc.
It is human nature for us to hide, or protect our vulnerabilities. The typical male "macho" does not want to show this. It is sometimes misconstrued as a weakness. Yet, I would venture a guess that at least one time or more in our lives, we have exposed ourselves and were vulnerable to the backlash from such decisions.

Building Walls

In the medevil times, castles were built and heavily fortified to give protection to its inhabitants. Moats, or bodies of water were constructed around the castle with only one way in or out of the castle - by virtue of a large door that was large enough to pass over the moat. As enemies came upon the castle to attack it, there were many waiting for them within the castle. Strategic openings within the castle allowed archers to project their arrows out to the enemy, but it was difficult for the enemy to shoot in to those tiny openings.

We all build walls up to protect ourselves from things that make us vulnerable; whether those things be deep memories that we just cannot give up or of sins that we build walls around with the justification that we are protected. Emotional walls are constantly being erected to protect us. And our homes have "walls" to help protect us from the Eco-societal calamities that are ensuing the earth. We protect ourselves with food storage, weapons or other mean to protect ourselves and our family.

Walls to be torn down

As I have mentioned, we build walls to protect ourselves. Walls of shame, past unrepented sins, jealousy, mistrust, and walls of finding fault, or judging are just a few of the walls that I suggest should be torn down. As is pointed out in the scriptures, wickedness never was happiness. If we can break free from these thoughts and actions, we are more free than when we think that we are just keeping those things holed up in our personal walls. As I have blogged before, I am a very emotional guy; a trait that most men will build walls around to protect themselves. For me, there is no wall to be found in that area. Yet many, wall up their emotions as a result of not appearing to be weak in the eyes of others.

  • Unrepented sins will literally destroy a person as a disease can overtake a body that is not prepared.  Deep inside, shame for those unrepented sins eat away a person. Harboring those sins brings misery, and no matter how tall or thick the wall is, they still remain. True repentance can break those bonds asunder and those walls will crumble away. The look and countenance of a person who has truly repented and those walls are no more is a humbling thing to behold. The words, "I am free" take on new meaning for those that follow this path.
  • Being jealous, or envious, or coveting is not a good wall to have. If we try to stop comparing our lives and circumstances with other mortals who walk on this earth, and look to our Savior as our model of living, I would submit that these traits would all but disappear.
  • Judging another is a very personal thing for most of us, present company included. We can, with our knowledge of the gospel actually be judging a person based on what we know to be true. Our level of "spirituality" might be on a completely different plane than another person. Words that may, indeed sound sincere can be judging. Any time that we purport to show our "spiritual dominance" with those who we come in contact with, is when we are judging another, in my opinion. I have come to the realization that I have been personally guilty of this, and this is one of my personal "Gethsemane" items that I am working on. The church has specific guidelines on what is right and wrong, and especially with the current events transpiring, judging is occurring. Yes, the church has those certain guidelines, but in every case we are also counseled to "love one another", "treat with respect",  and "reach out". Period. No bible bashing, no brow beating, no name calling. Just love and respect. As we do so, I believe that walls can be broken down and we can live in harmony one with another. You might say, this is not the Rick I remember from before - I am trying. I make mistakes, I own up to my mistakes, and I am, as the primary hymn says, "trying to be more like Jesus".

Walls to be built up

The scriptures remind us over and over to fortify ourselves with righteousness. That we must prepare ourselves to withstand the fiery darts of Satan. The walls of which I speak to be consistently built up are the walls of testimony, prayer, and service.

  • Our testimonies of the gospel need consistent nurturing. They are weak and need that reassurances. That is why, in my opinion, that we have fast and testimony meetings once a month, that is why we have Stake Conferences twice and year, and that is why we have General Conference twice a year. Our souls are fed and as a result, our testimonies are strengthened or even realized.
  • Prayer is an eternal principle where we "return and report our labors" to our Father in Heaven. The more we earnestly pray, the more we will be strengthened and our walls of confidence will wax strong in the sight of The Lord.
  • Service is much more than lip service. If we look to the Savior as our exemplar, we can see the kind of service He did for those He came in contact with. This may sound harsh, but I have been witness of service rendered for others in poorer circumstances that made me grateful for the little things I do have. Yes, I have rendered assistance, but was also taught to be appreciative for what I have instead of bemoaning my status - financial, statistical, or economically. 
These are the walls that need to be constantly worked on to ensure our happiness and spiritual well-being.

Recognizing our Vulnerabilities

We are all human. We have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. We all falter from time to time, but it is important that we pick ourselves up from these failings, dust ourselves off and continue our earthly journeys. Even our Savior, had His vulnerabilities. When He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He took upon himself every one of our sins and misdeeds. He was left open to the buffetings of Satan who tempted Him with many things. He gave Himself up to be ridiculed and judged by man. He, in essence put His glorious royal birthright with our Farpther in Heaven on hold and then, and there experienced mortality and thus His vulnerability. He had the power to stop what was going on, but didn't.  He did it all for our Heavenly Father and us - because He loves us enough to die for us.

As we grow in the gospel, and we recognize the eternal truth of "humbling ourselves as little children", we come to the realization that, as a child is submissive, humble and generally happy they are also vulnerable to dangers in the world. We, as parents build those walls of protection for our children to safeguard them. And our Heavenly Father can help us build those walls that protect our spiritual welfare. He provides the blocks - it is up to us to build a wall from them.

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