Weak. It’s not really a word that we typically want to use when describing the character traits that define our life; is it? Being weak is usually looked at as, well, a weakness. We want to be known for being strong, brave and able to conquer whatever life throws at us. But over the past few weeks, God has led me on a journey to embrace my weakness.
About a month ago, I was just plain exhausted and not just physically. With four kids (and one of them being a very active, teething, ornery one year old), I live in a constant state of tired :), but my exhaustion went beyond just a lack of sleep. I was worn out emotionally and spiritually. It seemed like everything I was trying to accomplish was taking so much effort, and yet even my best efforts weren’t quite cutting it. Connecting with God, loving others, taking care of my family, doing ministry… It all was feeling very overwhelming and a bit forced. Now I know that there are times when life and ministry are hard, but this wasn’t just a season in the ebb and flow of life. The things that I feel like I was born to do and the gifts and talents that God had given me had begun to feel like a burden to bear rather than something that was life giving to my soul. I was frustrated with myself because I was trying so hard to be strong in all these areas and was failing miserably.
Then, I read something in a book that stopped me in my tracks. In Gary Haugen’s book Just Courage, he wrote these words:
In different times and in different ways, our Heavenly Father offers us a simple proposition: Follow me beyond what you can control, beyond where your own strength and capacities can take you, and beyond what is affirmed or risked by the crowd – and you will experience me and my power and my wisdom and my love. Jesus beckons me to follow Him to that place of weakness where I risk the vulnerability of a child so that I might know how strong my Father is and how much He loves me.
That’s when I realized why I was so exhausted. I had been going through life doing things in my own strength rather than embracing my weakness and allowing God’s strength to shine through. You see, we can get things accomplished, love our families, do good and even serve God and do ministry while operating in a place of self reliance, but the fact is our own talents, abilities and efforts can only take us so far. When we rely on our own strength to do what God intended for us to do in His perfect strength, the results will leave us tired, disappointed and unfulfilled, but when we embrace weakness and fall into God’s strength He can accomplish through us much more than we could ever accomplish on our own.
I love how Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” His power works best in weakness. If this is true, then our best plan of action in life is to embrace our weakness rather than run from it because it is only then that God’s true strength and power can shine through and produce eternal results in our lives and in the lives of others.