II Corinthians 12:9, “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.”
This is not one of my favourite scriptures, or at least it never use to be.
The dictionary defines weakness as helplessness; powerlessness revealed by an inability to act. Ponder those words for a moment. Helplessness. Powerlessness. Inability. Why would someone want to be described by, let alone boast in, such negative adjectives? I know I don’t, or at least I never use to.
I love spending time talking with God but I don’t often hear Him talk back. Sure He reveals Himself to me when I study His Word and through messages that I listen to but I seldom actually hear Him. I don’t mean the audible voice that Moses heard from the burning bush (Exodus 3:4) or even the gentle whisper spoken to Elijah (I Kings 19:13). It’s more like the Shepherd’s voice from John 10:4. Over the past three days I have had to stop and listen to that voice.
In order for you to understand the significance of what God has being drilling into my head for some time now you will need to have a little bit of background as to who I am. So I’ve decided to write you a letter.
My name is Susan. I am thirty-something years old. I have been a wife for over 15 years and I am mother of four amazing children. My husband and I decided before we even had children, that I would be a “stay-at-home-mom.” I love what I do.
If I were to attempt to describe myself, I would use such words as; independent, driven, focused, perfectionist, strong willed, opinionated, dogmatic, and determined. You have probably noticed a consistent theme. One of my favourite sayings at one time, was “You have the right to your wrong opinion.”
I am also a very private person. That sounds kinda funny seeing as how I’m disclosing all of this to virtual strangers. I have spent many years building a fortress around myself, always making sure that the exterior walls looked strong impenetrable to the outsider. Very few are welcomed into my inner sanctuary and fewer still have been allowed to stay there.
These characteristics have served me well in many of my endeavors. I love a challenge. Whether that challenge is debating an issue until my opponent finally realizes the error of their ways, or whether it is tackling a construction job in our home that seemed to be impossible. You will often hear me say that nothing is impossible it is simply a matter of figuring out how to make it happen.
I have been known to place very high expectations on myself and I tend to measure others with the same yard stick with which I measure myself.
Although I recognize that I am more than simply all I have written above, for the purpose of this letter this is who I am.
Now that you have a little background perhaps you can appreciate my lack of love for II Corinthians 12:9. I have a strong distain for weakness, in myself or in others. Although this personality of mine brings with it some benefits when used as God intended it also poses a serious problem. Pride. (I feel as though mine is being attacked even as I write these words). God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13) Now I have a conflict.
As you can see, God had some work to do if He was going to make me fit for service. The journey has been a long one. For awhile it was simply one step after another. Then, about three years ago I came to the foot of a mountain. Perhaps someday I will share more about the beginning of the climb but for right now I want to share, actually I feel compelled to share, the more recent part of this climb.
This blog was actually the beginning of this particular part of my journey. I am not a writer. Not only am I not a writer but I hate writing! Give me a podium and a microphone or a room full of strangers and ask me to share my passions and I could talk for hours. Just don’t ask me to write. There are a number of reasons for this. Foremost, is simply that I don’t do it well, and I have many from my past that will testify to this fact. So, when God pressed upon me the idea of writing a blog to go along with my ladies Bible study, I wasn’t all that excited about obeying Him.
Recently I was given a confirmation that my writing abilities were not exactly stellar. I didn’t disagree with this point. My reaction was to ask God what the purpose was to this entire exercise. Instantly I heard, “Because My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” I couldn’t argue with that, so I said I would obey. That was day one.
Day two was yesterday. I was given a wonderful opportunity to do a radio promotion for a marriage seminar that my husband and I are coordinating. This should have been what I like to call a “no-brainer”. Speaking is not usually a challenge for me so a radio interview should have been as simple as talking on the phone with a friend. It wasn’t. I was a wreck. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. My emotions did not match what I knew about myself to be true. I like to ask God questions, I do it frequently. So about 10 minutes before I was to be on the air I asked him, why? Why was I feeling this way? What purpose could this possibly serve? Instantly I heard, “Because My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” What could I possibly say to that! I have to admit, I did remind Him that I really don’t care for this whole weakness thing, but I chose to obey.
It seems that I am a bit slow at getting the point because day three is today. Wednesday is a day that I can dedicate to working on whatever I need to accomplish without the interruptions that children can bring. I have a busy family and there is a great deal that is required in order to make our household run smoothly. Today would be a great day to get some of that stuff off my list. On day one I told God that I would obey, that I would write, but then today came along. Writing takes an extremely long time for me and all I could think about was the list of chores that I would rather accomplish. I hate writing so much that washing floors and doing laundry is way more fun in my books! As I was driving my kids to school this morning we were listing to the local Christian radio station. One of the frequent speakers came on to share a 30 second blurb on what life worship means. I’ll give you one guess as to what scripture he chose to share today. Once again my Father’s voice so clearly said, “Because My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” I was left with no choice. My laundry is not done but my post almost is.
I think I’m starting to get it. This journey we are on is not about us. It’s about Him. I’m still not a huge fan of weakness but I am learning that I have a choice. I can choose to walk in my strength; I can even walk in the giftings that He has given me. He will not receive this as worship to Him because my pride will creep in and God has a distain for pride. I can also choose to boast in my weaknesses and know that it is by His strength alone that I walk. This is true worship. I pray that my worship will always be true.