Friday, July 26, 2013

The Gift of Weakness

I haven't written in awhile. Figuring out this real world thing has been a challenge. The notion of time is so different than what I am accustomed to. There are so many less responsibilities to balance without school, and yet time still seems to fly by. They say the first year after graduation is the hardest, just like the first year of college was, how the first year of marriage will be. I can see the truth in that. Your whole life you are practically placed around people who are your same age, in the same life stage - you're practically handed community on a platter. But that's not the case after school, you realize that you're surrounded by people who are in completely different life stages, from different areas and backgrounds, with different beliefs and interests - it's a challenge.

All in all, I have nothing to complain about and can honestly say the first couple of months of life post-grad has been actually really wonderful! But come on, who doesn't have momentary lapses of loneliness or weakness?

So if you don't already know, I'm not a very emotional person. I consider it a curse really, because I think tears are really beautiful - a unique way to celebrate joy and true sadness, but they just don't come out of me even when I want them to. Except for the other day, while on the phone with my mother. I started venting about different things going on and opening up about my experience within this stage of transitioning. When all of a sudden, the girl who never cries starts to SOB. About what you ask? ...About the fact that I feel that I am beginning to lose my communication skills. Yes, I know - a huge tragedy indeed. Okay, it sounds completely silly BUT musicians have music, businessman have persuasion, videographers have creativity, and I have words, communication. I have always felt that writing and speaking were my gifts, the words that perfectly matched what I was thinking or feeling just came out of nowhere, naturally and easily. But the past few weeks I feel myself beginning to slip, the words just don't come, the confidence in my speech has been waning (so if this blog is completely lacking there's the reason why). And that's that. I felt God was taking away my spiritual gift, but my mom gave me a whole load of other things to think about - how maybe He is growing me in my empathy for those who struggle with words or has a different gift in store for this next stage of my life...mothers are always so good at shedding a positive light aren't they?

So then earlier today I began reflecting on the biggest weakness in my life. This is one I do not share to the world - hey we have to keep some things private! In a nutshell, it is something I have struggled with for a long time now. This weakness/struggle/whatever you want to call it is a constant source of frustration and shame and disappointment for me in my life. I have prayed and prayed for healing in this area. I have sought outside help and practiced surrender and I continue to experience this weakness. WHY. I think "God why? It would be better for You and for me to not have this struggle. It is not good. It is not righteous. It does not bring you glory. Why why why?!"

And then I decided to watch a sermon from Island ECC, my church while in Hong Kong, and I got my answer. I am going to share with you my takeaways from the message. I don't claim the words/thoughts to be my own but thought I would share because it's just too good not to.

"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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

A lot of times we like to pick and choose what we read in the Bible and what we will apply to our lives. "I came that they may have life and have life abundantly" (John 10:10) is an easy one to grasp isn't it? How about: "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," (Jeremiah 29:11)...We sure do like those. But others are a little bit more difficult aren't they? We like that His grace is sufficient, but we get to the "my power is made perfect in weakness" and we don't really like that. Because we're more prone to say "What I want you to do God, is that I want you to showcase your awesomeness in my victories. I want you to bless my life and here's the deal God - I promise to give you the glory, I'll give you all the credit. I want to win the award, get the promotion, earn the big house and at the end I promise to say 'I want to thank God..'"

...But sometimes God's like, ehhh..yeah no. Paul says "I will boast more gladly of my weaknesses." There is something about weaknesses that humbles us. That's nothing new though, we hear that all the time, right? We learn to promise that we will praise God in seasons of blessings and hardships - but what about the weaknesses that last for much longer than just a season? We hear these crazy testimonies about people who overcame tremendous things - we hear about people who were paralyzed from the neck down or lost an arm or leg and come out praising the Lord. And we applaud and say "wow, that's wonderful....for you...buuuut that's not necessarily the kind of gift I want." But wait a second, are we not told to BOAST in our weaknesses?

"Cease striving and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

We recognize our weaknesses, just like I recognize this struggle I have and I strive and I strive to get better, to pray for healing, to work and work to beat this thing - but what does the Bible say? It says to cease striving. That's not to say we are not to pray for revival in our weaknesses. On the contrary, God desires to hear from us, He desires to have us lift up our struggles - but through that we must realize that God CAN say "yes," He CAN say "not now," AND He can say "NO." Even Jesus asked God to lift the cup of suffering from him - but asked that ultimately God's will would be done. And in the end, God said "No." Because He would be most glorified through that No. God CAN showcase His power through our weaknesses, even if we would prefer He showcase His righteousness through our victories. He may choose to use sickness in my life in ways that can bring Him glory better than my health. To experience His enduring grace, the grace that is sufficient for me - learning to surrender is my best option.

So here I am. At the foot of the cross again. Daily having to choose to be here - in sickness or in health, in victory or defeat, with flowing communication or jumbled everything. For God gives me what I need to endure - and if that means my weaknesses make His victory sweeter - than so be it.

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