True Grit

“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.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Did you know that those who appear to be REALLY strong…. are actually the most sensitive? Did you know that those who spend all their time protecting and caring for others…usually are in need of someone to protect and to care about them? Did you know that three of the hardest things to say are: “I love you,” “I’m sorry” and “Help me”?  (Recent FB post)

I recently confessed to a friend:  “I really feel that post about ‘strong’ people – it gets hard to keep up the facade at times … it tires me out. Being ‘weak’ would be so nice.” I’ve always thought weakness meant the exact opposite of my definition of strength.  So, I said to my friend, “I think I will allow myself this day to be ‘weak’ … or maybe just a few hours … okay – A FEW MINUTES! Dang it, can’t do the all-day thing … got people counting on me to be strong … heck, I’M counting on me, too LOL!” I couldn’t give in to a pity party for long. Then I thought about that word … weak. Would it really be so bad to be weak and what does that even mean?

Well, I know what being strong means. Believing myself to be strong, appeals to the hero in me. It means I sometimes say no to myself – I restrict myself and try to think of the greater good. It means I restrain myself and try to see the big picture. It means being noble and honest and of good character. It means being an example for others to follow. It means pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstrap-son! It means forge ahead and create your own destiny. Instead of playing the victim, I take responsibility for changing the situation that I find myself in – that I may have even created. It means doing what you have to do to get it done in the face of certain obstacles that would derail others’ efforts. Courage under fire.

Truthfully, I’m such a control freak that I hate to feel that any part of my life is out of my control. And I‘m so proud that it’s very hard to say, “Help me.” That, too, is weakness. But is this desire to not appear weak really driven by a need to show others that I’ve got it all together? Does pride equal strength?  Well, as another friend so helpfully pointed out, “Pride goeth before destruction…” (Proverbs 16:18) So pride is the most certain way you can destroy yourself. So then, what is weakness?

If being weak means that you are able to admit you need help and to ask for it, then that takes strength (at least, for me) because it is so very hard to do. If it means that you let down your walls and let other people in, that’s scary and takes courage to do because they can potentially hurt you. Wow. This weak thing is not as easy as it sounds. To just GIVE UP? Give up your power and leave yourself wide open, making yourself THAT vulnerable? Being weak is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be.  I guess your security can only lie in WHO you are leaving yourself vulnerable to.

Being weak before God means I will allow him to have my power. It means I will give him control over a situation. It means I will submit to his will. It means you can allow yourself to be vulnerable and put yourself in his hands, knowing he will not abuse your trust. He is not a man, so being weak before him and admitting we need help from him is not only acceptable, it’s preferred. God loves it when we come to him with our broken lives, bring him our broken messes, put it in his hands and say “Daddy, can you fix this?” And being a good parent, like I did for my children when they would bring me their broken toys, he takes it out of our hands and puts it back together, making it functional again. THERE – good as new!

Our God delights in doing this. It’s when we are at our most weak and vulnerable that God is at his best. Think about it, how much success would your child have with fixing that broken toy unless they hand it over to you? They would struggle with it for a time, trying to be independent, trying to fix it, saying “No! I can do it!”  They finally give up in frustration, throwing pride out the window. That is us. God can’t do anything until we give up and give it over to him, which requires that we admit we cannot do it alone. Then we cry, “I need help!” Oh, but he is our strength! When I say I want to be weak, I’m really saying, I want someone to be strong for me. I’m really strong for other folks – let someone be really strong for me. Someone I can lean on. Someone I can trust with my troubles.

I find myself currently in the position of having to re-invent myself … yet, again.  Shoot! Dang it!  My strength, in the past, has been dependent on those I had to be strong for – my kids, my mom, my family or friends. So when put in a similar position some five years ago, I found it in me to be strong for my kids’ sake. They needed me – I could not let them down. So, while part of me wanted to just crawl in a hole and be done with it, I couldn’t allow myself that luxury of just giving up. And part of me was afraid to just give up for fear the torrent of life’s cares would just wash me away. I was afraid to lose in my desperate gamble for freedom and my bid to begin life anew. I was determined to succeed. I NEEDED to succeed.

I’m finding now that it’s easier to show up and be strong for other people than it is for myself. For those who need me, for those who are “weaker” than myself, I have been strong.  Do I have it in me to show up and be strong for me? Thank goodness, I’ll never find out … I plan on taking the ‘easy’ road this time.  Just let myself be weak, for a change. I’ll lean and depend on God and trust that he won’t let the cares of this life carry me away.  I give my strength away and find the courage to say, “I need help.”  Time to let go and let God.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong …

Be blessed,