I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.
– 2 Corinthians 12:9a (LB)
We all have many weaknesses, flaws and imperfections. Some are uncontrollable circumstances. God can use all of these. It’s up to us to allow him to use them – to use us. We try so hard to hide our weaknesses. We deny them, “defend them, excuse them, . . . and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.”
Your weaknesses are not accidents. God allowed them to be in your life so that he could use his power through you. Did you know that he prefers to use the weak? The “poor in spirit” is the “number one attitude he blesses.” To pretend to be strong and self-sufficient – we feel this is a safe place for us. We feel the need to protect ourselves. Believe me, I know. We feel we don’t need anyone. We can handle anything. We don’t need help. We are wrong. I am wrong. Deep down, I know that I need people. It doesn’t make it any easier to open up to people, though, does it? To admit you need help with anything in your life? I’m not good at this. Are you? God is drawn to people who are weak and admit it. He can use these people.
In this chapter, Mr. Warren explains that “a weakness is not a sin or a vice or a character defect that you can change, such as overeating or impatience; it is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change, such as a physical limitation, a chronic illness, naturally low energy, or disability. It may be an emotional limitation, such as a trauma scar, a hurtful memory, a personality quirk, or a hereditary disposition. Or it may be a talent or intellectual limitation. We’re not all super bright or talented.”
I would think that God could use the other weakened states, too, such as those sins and character defects.
I’ve seen him use an alcoholic. A weakened person, drunk with pain, trying to drown the pain in alcohol, can be used. He/she can be transformed and used to help others – used to strengthen others, to relate and understand what it was like, to have been there themselves and help someone else through to the other side where freedom lives, free from the bondage of alcohol. Now, alcoholism – I don’t know that I’d call it a sin. It’s more of a disease. I did not fully understand that it was a disease until I lived with someone who was an alcoholic and it would take years to understand. I still, don’t fully understand, but I see it as a weakness that you can have control over or learn control over – you stay away from alcohol. You never become healed or get over it. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
I believe it’s the same with any other weakness, as far as it’s usefulness by God. Every weakness, including sin, can be used by God to help others. Is sin not a weakness? I think it is.
We are supposed to admit our weaknesses. Mr. Warren suggests our making a list of them. Admitting our weaknesses to God and ourselves will show how human we are and our need for God to use us. It will admit the truth that we need him. Then, and only then, can he use us. When we refuse to admit our weaknesses, God will use crisis to get you to admit to it.
This chapter says to “be content with your weaknesses.” Be content? Be okay with them? Honestly? We spend all these years trying to cover them up, so that nobody can see them. We pretend we have it all together. We’ve got everything under control. Do we? Mr. Warren goes on to explain that “contentment is an expression of faith in the goodness of God. . . . Whenever you feel weak, God is reminding you to depend on him.”
“Honestly share your weaknesses.” We can use our weaknesses to minister to others. We’ve been there. We understand. We can be compassionate and relate to what others are going through. God wants to use your weaknesses to help others with what you have experienced or what you are experiencing now. Doesn’t it help you to talk with someone who totally gets you? They have been where you are. They get it. It’s comforting to know that they were there and they made it through and so can you. It helps you to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I know how terrifying it can be to let your guard down, to show your vulnerability. It’s never an easy thing. “But the benefits are worth the risk. Vulnerability is emotionally liberating. Opening up relieves stress, defuses your fears, and is the first step to freedom.”
“Humility is not putting yourself down or denying your strengths; rather, it is being honest about your weaknesses. The more honest you are, the more of God’s grace you get. You will also receive grace from others. Vulnerability is an endearing quality; we are naturally drawn to humble people. Pretentiousness repels but authenticity attracts, and vulnerability is the pathway to intimacy. . . . Our strengths create competition, but our weaknesses create community.”
It’s hard to face your weaknesses, isn’t it? We have spent so much time trying to bury them or hide them behind the mask we wear every day. It’s so difficult to let down our guard and admit we are weak people. I get it. But when someone comes to you, needing your help with some affliction that you harbor yourself, are you going to reach out to them and share and comfort and try to help them or are you going to continue wearing the mask, pretending you are perfect? Try imagining yourself in the other person’s place. Do you feel their pain? Their frustration? Their struggle? Whether or not you had someone to help you when you needed it, don’t you owe it to yourself and that helpless person to relate and console? Just to let someone know they are not alone in this helps them in more ways than you can possibly imagine, whether or not you have reached that place of freedom for yourself.
Go out there and make it a super-duper Sunday. Do something fun. Relax a bit. Spend some time loving your family, laughing, or hanging out with some friends, watching the Super Bowl or whatever makes you smile. What will you do today to make God smile?
Love you guys! *hug*