When I am Weak
“To my best mom! Have you heard? I use your weakness to turn you strong.”
My oldest daughter was six years old when she wrote that note and left it on my nightstand.
I remember standing there reading those precious misspelled words, thinking, “Then I should be the strongest person in the world.”
If weak means strong in this upside-down Kingdom of God, then why don’t I feel stronger? If weak means strong, then I should be winning at this. If weak means strong, then I should be a body builder by now.
But, instead, I just feel weak.
I could easily list areas of weakness and places of failure in my life. I can lay in bed at night and think about the things I wish I had done differently that day, things I shouldn’t have said, and things I wish I had said instead.
Regret is a nasty companion.
We’ve all had those days…days we feel like the whole world is out to get us.
It’s the kind of day where you think, “If one more thing goes wrong today, I’m gonna lose it.” You end up halfway through your day, and that one more thing always happens, and you snap under the pressure – too weak to handle one. more. thing.
You lose patience with your children, and you have no grace for your husband. If you could step outside yourself you might find the humor in it – but that’s not likely to happen for a while.
You become a version of yourself you never wanted to meet.
We are well aware of our weaknesses on a day like that… aware of our need to take some deep breathes and put on some fruit of the spirit and turn our attitude around even if…especially if,…the day never makes a turn for the better.
But it’s more than that. I’m not just talking about a rough day.
I’m talking about the weakness that we carry internally….the weaknesses we are aware of within ourselves. The ongoing areas of struggle in our hearts.
It’s the things we’re afraid to face and really deal with…the things that, in an effort to avoid, we just keep spinning on the hamster wheel…scared to stop and face it.
These are the weaknesses we’re afraid will start shouting at us the minute we’re quiet long enough to listen…the weaknesses deep inside that surface when an impossible day lies ahead of us and one more thing just keeps happening.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Do we really believe that in those weaknesses His power could be made perfect?
In the middle of a particularly weak day, I began reading that verse over and over.
I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t this always feel true? When I am weak, then I am strong? When I am weak…I just feel weak.”
I felt like the Lord gently reminded me that His strength is there for the taking; I just fail to reach out and grab it.
Pride is ugly. So we dress it up and try to make it look a little less disgusting by calling it ‘Perfectionism’.
Perfectionism is pride disguised, but it’s still pride.
It’s the thing that keeps us striving and struggling to do things in our own strength. Pride would keep us from recognizing that, on our own, we can do nothing. On our own we will never overcome and conquer the challenges that lie ahead.
Yet, somehow, even in our weakest moments, we still try to do it on our own.
We push through. We grit our teeth and plow through the day. We continue to make mistakes and walk in our flesh, but we console ourselves at the end of the day: “we did the best we could under the circumstances.”
We live in an independent, self reliant, we-can-do-anything-we-set-our-mind-to culture. Take a look around, and you will see many who boast in their own abilities and accomplishments – proud of themselves for how far they’ve made it, and how they’ve done it on. their. own.
I have certainly become aware of the many weak moments in my life that I let rule me.
The moments that I was unable, or more truthfully…unwilling, to stop and recognize that His strength was there to meet me.
I am even aware of the weak moments in my life that I knew what the “right” thing to do or say was, and in my own strength, I trudged ahead doing just that.
I made a good choice, but in the end, I still did it on my own.
A right choice made on my own doesn’t mean I received His strength. I never reached out and grabbed hold of the strength and power of Christ that was available to me in those moments.
Sure, when you’re on the other side, you can look back and realize how foolish you were. It’s easy to see what could have happened had you taken Him at his word and pushed into His heart.
His strength would have met and swallowed up your weakness.
There has to be a tenacity and intentionality within us so that in the middle of our weakest moment, in the middle of our flesh winning the day, in the middle of our failure, we are able to find Him.
Not after the fact. Right then and there, in the middle of our weak place, we can find Him; and when we do, we will find a strength we didn’t think was possible.
When I am weak, I have the opportunity to be made strong. Will I take it?
We will have moments or days, maybe even long seasons, where we feel like we’re trying to stay afloat…all the while growing weaker by the minute. Could it be that He is setting us up to need Him? Could it be that He wanted to show up with His great strength, but we just kept striving on our own?
Maybe today we could just stop.
Stop trying to make it through the day.
Stop trying to muster the strength to handle what’s been handed to us.
Instead, maybe we could start boasting in our weakness knowing that there is zero way we’re getting through this on our own…and that is the strongest place to be.
When you feel like you have nothing left to give, He will give you what you need.
Strength defined is this: “not easily subdued or taken, well established, firm, able to withstand great force or pressure. Power to resist attack, having or marked by great physical power, the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.”
It is Christ in me that will enable me to withstand great force or pressure. It is Christ in YOU that will give you the power to resist attack. It is Christ in us that will empower us emotionally and mentally to deal with difficult situations.
He is always willing and ready to empower us. Even at our weakest moment – especially at our weakest moment.
When I am weak, then I am strong. That is the kind of strength available to us through Christ. It’s HIS strength that is made perfect in our weakness.
Our weak hearts make the perfect stage for His great power.