Tag Archives: weakness

{Day 25} I Wish I Could Tell You…

“But he 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

I wish I could tell you that after reading that email and realizing this was not going as I had expected (um, at all), I immediately got on my knees before the Lord in quiet confidence, acknowledged His sovereignty, laid my heart out before him, and entrusted the “what now?” to Him.

But I didn’t.

Oh, ultimately I did get before the Lord, but only after first reacting rather poorly. Seriously. In that moment, on that day, I was a hot mess about the whole thing. Just ask my mother.

And in the next several days that followed, I was anything but confident … in the Lord’s direction thus far, in my ability to hear His voice, in how to discern where He was leading next, in how to follow His plan.

I was spiritually and mentally exhausted.

But His grace was sufficient in the midst of that weakness … my weakness.

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For When I am Weak…

“…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)

I know I don’t usually post at all on Saturday mornings, much less a devo thought, but this message is so important and so freeing that I just didn’t want to sit on it. I desperately needed this reminder. Maybe you do, too. So before you launch into that mindless novel at the pool, or head to that summer cookout, or start on that yardwork, or begin that week of vacation, take a moment to pause, to reflect, and to rest at the feet of Jesus. He loves us so well.

After completing week three of the “Grace for the Good Girl” book club hosted by Emily Freeman on her blog, which basically wraps up the section describing the many masks we good girls tend to hide behind … such as the masks of strength and responsibility, of a good performance, and even of spiritual disciplines … the one theme that stood out above all else was this:

weakness.

If I’m being honest, I tend to think of weakness as a bad thing. Not so much if other people admit to weakness. It’s ok if someone else shares a flaw or a struggle or has a need for help or support. But me? Well, that crosses the proverbial line. After all, I am perfectly capable of handling my own problems, answering my own questions, talking myself into a better attitude, and dealing with my own mess.

“Hiding behind a mask of strength and responsibility is a lonely place to live. That mask portrays to the world around us that we have it all together, that we can handle the mess, that we don’t need people. Or worse, that we don’t need God.” – Emily Freeman (p. 85)

Yes, I often wear this mask of responsibility – the one that demands I must have it all together at. all. times. – quite well. Even worse, I wear it proudly as if it’s somehow a badge of honor … all the while failing to recognize the straight up pride in that very sentiment!

“The truth is, admitting weakness is the very doorway the Lord uses to lead the tired good girl to a place of rest.” – Emily Freeman (p. 85)

I know that statement is true. The Lord does use weakness to lead us to rest in Him. I have even acknowledged weakness here before and spoken of the necessary choice to return to Him in complete surrender. A choice that must be made over and over again. Because this walk with the Lord, it’s everyday, it’s every moment.

Yet as the discussion in a subsequent chapter shifted to the parable of the prodigal son, as I continued to consider this good girl tendency of hiding behind strength and responsibility, I couldn’t help but think about the burden of guilt that I so often carry around as of late. Guilt because of missed deadlines (however soft those deadlines may be…), guilt because I haven’t done enough or been enough, guilt because the facade of having it all together fades, guilt because I have a need. It’s been a struggle, it’s been a weakness.

But then in the middle of the chapter, I came to this quote by Brennan Manning from his book “Reflections for Ragamuffins”:

“There is more power in sharing our weaknesses than our strengths. The forgiveness of God is gratuitous and unconditional liberation from the domination of guilt. The sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced an intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that his sinless self-righteous brother would never know.” (p. 103)

brokenness.

And all of a sudden that weakness is wrapped in brokenness, and in that brokenness, there is hope. Because Jesus wants that brokenness. And in exchange, He offers to lift the burden, the weakness, and replace it with intimacy and joy.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

– Psalm 51:17 (ESV)

Yes, this guilt … sometimes legitimate, sometimes false … leaves me broken and weak. But when I stop there, when I allow that guilt to rule instead of taking it to Jesus Christ and laying it at His feet in humble abandon, I miss out on the acceptance and peace and rest that He has already so freely offered.

“The beautiful redemptive truth is, I am free to identify with the Father, the one who offered unconditional love and acceptance to both sons. I don’t have to figure out the mess. I do have to trust in the One who can.” – Emily Freeman (p. 106)

—–

“But he 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 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.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

Here and There

note: while i did have a specific “here” and “there” in mind when i penned this, in some ways, we all have a “here” and “there”. it may be a physical location, a goal, a hope, a dream, or just a what if. but regardless of the what, i would encourage you to to think of your own “here” and “there” as you read. and then rest in the truth of His promises.

What makes me think if I can’t manage time and priorities here in relative comfort, stability and ease, that I can manage time and priorities there in the midst of potential discomfort and unknown?

What makes me think if I can’t reach outside of myself here to fully invest in others as I should, that I can fully invest there within a limited framework?

What makes me think if I can’t write here from my heart for me (much less for them), that I can write there so publicly?

What makes me think if I can’t find the balance and consistency in the Word here that is right, that I can be consistent there in new and unfamiliar surroundings?

Yet even as I continue to ask the questions, which all really boil down to just one question of my own ability, and begin to acknowledge the underlying fears, I already know the answer. It’s the same answer I received so powerfully and directly on that old hotel room floor in Ocean City six years ago.

I can’t. But HE can.

And as I hear that truth once again, as I not only hear it, but believe it, as it resonates deep within me, the Lord comes in gently and lovingly (though not painlessly) to once again strip me of my pride and self-sufficiency and independence. Because this relationship, this walking with Him, this following Him, was never intended to be that way.

None of this depends on me. It never did. This is not about me at all. It never was.

It’s about trusting in Him, leaning into Him, depending on Him. It’s about surrendering self and sacrificing independence. It’s about acknowledging His strength in my weakness, His sufficiency in my insufficiency, His righteousness in my unrighteousness.

Both my here and my there are His. For His purpose and for His glory.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

In My Weakness…

“And He has said to me,

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'”

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

In times when my best falls short…

In times when my emotions are raw…

In times when I simply go through the motions…

In times when my next step seems just out of reach…

In my weakness…

His grace is sufficient.

His power is perfected.