I think it’s time I came to grips with my weaknesses.
His power is made perfect in weakness, you know.
Always, always I have acknowledged that I am imperfect, that I have so far to go, that I am no standard to strive for. And yet, in certain ways I have really feared my weaknesses, rather than boasting in them the way that Paul did (2 Corinthians 12). Something about being a Christian, a mother, a wife, a pastor’s wife…knowing that there are so many eyes on me, knowing that people look up to me and are influenced by the things I say and do…I have sometimes (often) felt that my weaknesses, if I were very open about them, would crush those following me. They depend on me to be strong, to be a leader, right?
But the truth is, I have very real struggles.
Very very real.
I can say with Paul that “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
Thankfulness is my heart’s response to God showing me my frailty. My dependence upon Him has been renewed. I may have grown up knowing the Lord, fearing Him and shunning evil, but I still need a Savior. Every day I need Him.
In 2 Corinthians 12, after Paul talks about this thorn in the flesh, he proceeds to say not that he will minimize it, or try to just deal, or move on in spite of it…he actually says he’ll boast in it: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I am ready to humbly acknowledge my weaknesses. Not to run away, or try to protect others from reality, but to boast in it so that Christ’s power can rest upon me.
There is fear rising up though.
What if someone who has looked up to me is hurt to know that I struggle so deeply?
But I am not their Savior, Christ is! He is big enough to keep them, I am not. He alone is our hope and salvation! If I take that place or take even a smidge of the glory that is due His name – God forgive me! All the glory is His. I am the same as every other redeemed sinner. I want to say “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” and I do strive to imitate Christ. And yet I am broken, and I am not Christ. If I or anyone else sets me up as such, disappointment is sure to set in.
So I want to be real with my weaknesses. Acknowledging to God that I need Him, which sets Him free to move powerfully in my life.
But this means blowing up the facade of a smile and “Hey! Yeah, we’re doing great!”
I fear giving myself or my family or pastor’s wives or seminarians or stay at home moms a bad name…I even start to fear giving God a bad name…and then I realize what a position I’ve given myself in my mind. My fears all center on myself being the one who holds all things together. But truly, “in him all things hold together.”
I don’t need to desperately hold myself or anything else together. Only God can do that. I don’t need to worry about my weaknesses or try to contain them. I need to boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me!
“When I am weak, then I am strong.”
Do I really believe that?
Surely I am more useful for the kingdom when I’ve got my junk together…Right?
So, here I am. I need to boast in my weaknesses.
I struggle with depression. I don’t understand it, I don’t like it. But I know God allows it in various times, in various ways, for His reasons. It’s humbling, and it’s really hard. When I feel this melancholy or discouragement or depression or whatever it is, it’s super hard to just get out of bed and do whatever I need to that day. Suddenly I can’t be self-sufficient even if I want to.
It’s a really fearful thing. It’s a serious weakness.
But I’m trusting that God will show His power through my weakness.
I’m ready to boast in it.