What if we plastered all of our garbage on Facebook? What if instead of just posting all the perfect moments of our lives, we displayed the dirty dark secrets that most everyone doesn’t see? Well, I have a lot of those moments. Where I have been increasingly hating my weaknesses, I’ve actually started to learn to like them.
Due to my insecurities, weaknesses, and sinful failures, I have spent the last few days sulking; even though I am confident in God’s grace for my life I feel like I’ve been running. It’s the usual valley that lies just passed the previous mountaintop. But despite my bleak hatred for these recurrences, I have been seeing the good in them. And I’d like to hit the like button on that. Here’s what I’m learning.
Weakness should be welcomed with gladness. Like Paul says, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 11:30) Now, boasting in the things that expose our weakness is contrary to culture and just sounds ridiculous. Instead, we are trying to look good in front of everyone–at work, to friends, on social media! Go look at my Facebook page everyone– or go to Heather’s–we look so perfect. Ha!
God forbid we ever display our shortcomings in front of others. It’s called Self-preservation; this is something I deal with. Growing up in the shadows of my amazing parents, people have automatically viewed me in the light they do my parents (or so I think). If it’s not that, it’s the image portrayed week after week for years as people see me lead worship and preach sermons. Without transparency and humanizing mechanisms, picture-perfect images of me are created. Operating in my shinny gifts can creep in a subtle fear that people are going to discover the real me, whereby the image anyone had is SUDDENLY smashed.
Recently, I have dealt with certain weaknesses that I DON’T want to have. I hate them and I wish they would vanish. But surprisingly, amid the dark grief, I find a welcomed contentment.
Why I love my weaknesses.
Honestly, if I had everything together all the time, I wouldn’t need to rely on God for ANYTHING. My self-happiness and self-sufficiency would be plenty enough to satisfy me. Why would I need God for anything when I have myself? I find it very interesting that Paul, the writer of most the New Testament, makes sufferings seem like gifts from God.
“For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (anyone relate?) Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But (pay attention) that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
God doesn’t cause our sufferings but he does use them to teach us lessons. He does use them to discipline us. He uses them to make us stronger. And he most certainly uses them to keep our reliance on him. So in a way, they are a blessing to us.
I often get discouraged when I don’t measure up to the HIGH EXPECTATIONS I place on my self. But the Lord has been teaching me lately that it’s OK to be weak. Exposed weakness does not comprise manliness, it doesn’t ruin leadership, nor does it disappoint people. It actually helps others dealing with the same issues to find hope.
In reality, I hope I remain weak. Because I know that God uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; he uses the weak to shame the strong. He uses the low and despised things of the world to bring to nothing those who think they are something! (1 Corinthians 1:27)
To be honest with you, I have felt just like Paul who pleaded with God. He said, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this (thorn in my flesh), that it should leave me. But Jesus 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 (as he did) of my weaknesses, so that the “power of Christ may rest upon me.”
So, what am I learning? I am learning to stop running when my weaknesses thrash me. Instead, I’m learning to be glad. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to grow in my reliance on God. In fact, I think God is using these things to test, teach, and graduate me to new levels of perseverance, character, and hope. (Romans 5:4)
I heard a gentleman say recently after being honest about one of his weaknesses, “I hate this, it makes me feel weak.” Hearing this was perfect timing for me because I have been experiencing the same thing. But I refuse to be a prisoner of Self-preservation and I hope the Lord continues to help me out of it.
I opened up the bible today and knelt to read. It felt good to turn to the Lord. Even though I have been confident in God’s grace toward me, it still felt good to stop running.
And that’s the best kind of recurrence.
This post is also live at DanielsWorship.com