boasting in my weaknesses

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.

Dear Reader,

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. 

Cautiously,

 Susan

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.

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11 Responses to boasting in my weaknesses

  1. Oh my, Sue, your writing really is totally stellar! I read every word with interest and pleasure, being inspired in the process. And I am proud to refer people to your blog.

    When I read your description of who you are, it truly is a miracle that you and Peter didn’t go up in a cloud of smoke! 🙂 You have some similar traits–but enough of a difference to make you perfectly matched.

    As for how long the writing takes, I can well imagine. I know that this is a true labour of love. It shows.

    And today at work, two people told me that they heard you on the radio! You go, girl. 🙂

    • Peter says:

      The truth of the matter is that Dad and Sue share some of those crazy traits. It was only recently that I commented to our church board that both Sue and Dad have a gold standard that must be met – silver is for the best of the losers. So, I guess that God knew I’d need some conditioning to be a perfect match for Sue. ; )

      On a more serious note, we were just reflecting on the fact that I’m completely uncomfortable with public speaking and yet that is the area where God has been using me. While Sue hasn’t struggled in that area, it hasn’t been a focal point for her ministry. Sue’s post captures the message so well, I won’t go on, but I will say that this study and the blog are an amazing testimony of what can happen when we step out in response to God’s leading.

  2. Dear Sue,
    You may not love the process of writing, but permit me to be so bold as to say, “you are most definitely a writer!”
    I saw myself in this piece … not entirely, but enough to recognize that I was meant to read your words today. Thank you for sharing – out of the discomfort of your heart.

    • Susan says:

      Hello Patricia,

      After checking out your blog I feel humbled by your words. You are a very talented lady and have a beutiful family. This blog world is still amazing to me. I have a lot to learn but I very much enjoy watching God work.

  3. Marilyn says:

    I suffered along with you in this tale!

    Picture Moses in Exodus 3-4, receiving a specific call from God and then standing there arguing through Points A, B, C, D…..explaining to God that He has picked the wrong person. Hahaha. My favorite passage!

    • Susan says:

      This is a favourite passage of mine as well! I am certainly no Moses but I can appreciate his desire to attempt to convince God that He was mistaken in His choice.

  4. Susan Stewart says:

    “Recently I was given a confirmation that my writing abilities were not exactly stellar.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

    What you wrote today (and in previous posts) held my interest and touched my heart. I’m with Belinda, “You go girl…”

  5. Susan says:

    I think your writing is great. It is not flowery but it is to the point. I guess that reinforces what you have said about our personality. My writing “style” is similar so I appreciate it.

    God can be a hard teacher but when he puts so many signs in your way or in your face, I guess you’d better listen. I will be interested to hear in future posts how you are doing with this.

  6. Angcat says:

    Well friend, I think enough people who profess to be writers have indicated great enjoyment at reading your stuff. Add me to the list. But yes, glorify God, because it is all about Him.
    Keep going!

    🙂

  7. Marilyn says:

    Yeah God!! It really is ALL ABOUT HIM. I am so grateful for His transforming power and love watching it take place in others! Life becomes an exciting adventure when we follow His leading and trust Him with the results. By our obedience we are really saying “I CHOOSE TO TRUST YOU BECAUSE I WANT TO KNOW YOU MORE”. He never lets us down! Go Girl Go.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Going all the way back to the garden, the temptation of independence has been an attraction to our nature. When we serve God in our strength, perhaps we still carry that spiritually unhealthy sense of control. I, too, have experienced God asking me to venture out in an area of utter weakness. Those times when I’ve responded in obedience to His leading have resulted in some of my greatest experiences. We all need to be encouraged to surrender to His leading and to rely on His strength. Thanks for reminding us of what can be accomplished when we do.

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