“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”2 Corinthians 12:10
Seeking to find an illustration to show the beauty of weakness. Harder than it looks. I could tell the story of a china plate, longing to be used as a hammer and finding with every blow how fragile she is… and how she was made for more. (insert sweeping orchestral music)
Or… I could just tell you about myself. I am not a large person. I am actually stronger than I look, but that is not saying much. You’d be surprised to know this, but I could definitely win an arm-wrestling competition against *some* tree branches and not even break a sweat. I am at least that strong.
But physically, I pose no threat and offer no real help to society at large.
I am also not a smart person. I mean, I graduated… but I can’t remember most of what I learned in school. I take great comfort when people tell me that school isn’t about what you learn but how you learn it.
So mentally, again, not a great addition to society, but I am also not going to design nuclear weapons and everyone can be thankful for that.
Now, I am also not a particularly wealthy person. God has granted me as much money as He can trust me with and the rest He has given to the top 1%. I don’t have name-brand foods in my pantry and I don’t have name-brand clothes in my closet, but I occasionally get a sandwich AND a smoothie from Wawa and that is the greatest expression of wealth for any person in the Northeastern United States.
So financially, again, I will not be asked to attend galas and fundraisers, but I am also not homeless and I did not gain my car by theft.
These are humorous examples of my short-comings and I could go on, but suffice it to say, if I was to liken our society to a great puzzle and each of us were a puzzle piece, this would be me.
Of all people, I feel myself to be the most open to criticism for my failures. Yet, if I were to cover all those holes in me, how would I fit into the big picture? How would people connect to me?
In God’s eyes, we are all weakness. Denying our weaknesses doesn’t magically remove them. But the pride and refusal to admit to weakness and wrong means that God’s grace cannot be applied. To the contrary! The more we hide our failures and wrongs, the more power they seem to hold over us.
This happens on a smaller scale with our friends. Not admitting we are wrong doesn’t mean they can’t see it *very* clearly. We’ve all watched that girl try to defend her wrong-ness. We just forget that we often ARE that girl. Overcoming pride and admitting we are wrong just means we can make it right and move on. Asking for help and being transparent means that we are giving our friends an opportunity to minister to us on a deeper level which will bind us together.
I’ve learned to love it when people see my need and reach out with a helping hand. I’ve learned to appreciate it when someone sees me being made fun of for my slip-ups and protects that weakness against my attackers. I’ve also learned to try to never be the attacker and protect those around me like I need to be protected.
When all else fails, and just as important as defending others, there is the skill of knowing when to laugh at myself. Learning to graciously allow for humor at your own expense will give much enjoyment to others and take the pressure off of you. You cannot be perfect, so enjoy the slip-ups freely when they are your own!
There are those that never seem to lose, that always get it right, while it seems we have to learn to lose gracefully and congratulate with sincerity. You know what you’ll find? You will be appreciated even more for that. They can be the sought-after corner or end pieces of the puzzle with their smooth edges. Those people have been made by God for something very special, just like you and I. Don’t envy them.
Don’t rob people the pleasure of being able to help you and fill in your holes. Look out for the holes in other people, their tell-tale blush and their nerves. Look for the smile that seems a little wobbly. Look for that younger friend that is taking a loss hard and with a smile, step close to them and cover it up with love. You’ll see that linked and pieced together, guarding for the friend next to us, we are stronger, we are complete. The beauty isn’t in your strength or your perfection. The beauty will be in the design of how God made each of us to fit in each other’s cracks so perfectly. The beauty is in our weakness.
Eliza was raised in a family of nine in the farmlands of Pennsylvania and later on the backwoods of Tennessee. Never a very good spectator, she prefers to be in the middle of things, whether that be at home or abroad. She enjoys telling a good yarn and loves using her capers to convey the goodness of God.