The Benefits of Vulnerability

blog healing photography vulnerability Jul 19, 2023

A Blog by Gem Fadling

When you have a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera you can choose to shoot your images in either RAW or JPG mode. All images are made up of pixels. Pixels are like tiny dots all scrunched together to make the image that you see when you look at a photo.


A JPG image compresses some of the pixels together when you take the picture. It might take all of the whites in one section of the image and combine them together, and it might combine all of the red pixels from another section. This means you do not have access to all of the pixels when you edit the photo, which means there is less ability to fix a mistake or enhance an image.


A RAW image is taken in such a way that every single pixel in an image retains the ability to be manipulated or enhanced when you edit the photo. Each pixel remains independent of the others. Having used RAW mode, you could correct mistakes you made when you snapped the image. You have access to every single pixel. This is great news if you take an underexposed photo and need to brighten it. With the touch of a slider, you can bring a dark photo into the light.


It may feel horrible, but being raw in your own life of transformation can be similarly good. You have access to everything you need to become everything you could be. Being raw looks like being vulnerable or acknowledging that sometimes you don’t have the answers. It can mean being honest about what is actually happening rather than sliding into denial. Being raw can also mean not rationalizing or making something pretty that isn’t pretty.


I won’t lie, remaining raw takes courage. Courage because the process for true healing usually takes time, and sustained courage during that process can be very difficult. But remember, RAW mode leaves the image (and you) open to the most enhancing. And if you want God to continue his work of transformation, then keeping yourself open is totally worth it.


On the flip side, leaving yourself closed, going into denial, and rationalizing can all keep you in JPG mode. You might be moving along, but the deepest work isn’t being accessed because your openness level is compressed or shallow.


Are you experiencing a RAW place right now? Even though it hurts and you just want it to be over, try taking a moment to see the beauty of having full access to the change that needs to occur. Like an image in the hand of a skilled photographer, you have access to every single inner pixel. You are open. Being raw and vulnerable allows for that.



  • Take time to ponder and/or journal an area of your life in which you feel raw and vulnerable.
  • Pause for a moment and breathe. This painful place is the access point of the Holy Spirit. A deep place where true healing might occur. What emotions and thoughts arise in light of this?
  • Ask God to meet you here. And then seek the help you need if the healing requires more support.


P.S. What Does Your Soul Love? is the perfect book to use for your upcoming small group season. There are journal/conversation questions at the end of each chapter and there is a small group guide in the appendix. Order from your favorite bookstore.


Taken from What Does Your Soul Love? by Gem & Alan Fadling. ©2019 by Gem & Alan Fadling. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press.


Photo by Nicolas Ladino Silva on Unsplash