Do you have a weakness? I hate to break it to you, but it’s safe to say we’re all a flawed bunch of humans. What might that be for you today? Yes today. Heck, it can even change moment-to-moment. Quite uplifting so far, I know, but stay with me. These words can serve as leverage to higher ground for anyone stuck, affected, or about to be by some weakness. Spoiler alert: you will be.
So you’ve run into your weakness. Maybe it’s a disappointment, failure, even a perpetual mistake. Good! Now that you know it, the ball is in your court. Choose to let it humble you, not condemn you. It’ll teach you and propel you to a place where you grow in love and authenticity for yourself and others.
If you haven’t come up with an obvious weakness yet, that’s okay. It took me a whole journey of disappointments, weak moments, and prayer to recognize less obvious ones. Or the ones that have been suppressed by denial.
Lucky for you, you’re learning from a pro here. As a (continually) recovering perfectionist, I’ve weighed failures out by the smoke and mirrors of condemnation. I’ve also weighed them out by the light of grace. More spoiler alerts: grace always wins!
It can be any negative characteristic, big or small. Primarily, I’m dealing with the pestering things about yourself you can never fully eradicate. Or at least, from resurfacing in your mind.
How have I been freed from the bondage of weakness?
Anyone that knows me would agree, my life BC (yes, Before Christ) is basically an ash heap of poor decisions. I was stuck in a perpetual cycle of choosing all the wrong friends, financial moves, boyfriends, college majors, jobs, health decisions, the list goes on.
Then in trying to be better (AC, After meeting Christ), I’d hold perfectionism’s death grip to make all the right moves. I figured, better set the controls to overdrive than mess up one more thing.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN tendencies come back?
Similar thought patterns trip you up again that you thought had been redeemed for good!
Panic! “I thought you’d learn by now! What about that promise to God? How dare you have the same thoughts and temptations as in your past?! You were supposed to be this brand new person!”
Okay, devil, sit back down.
“I’m just always going to be this way,” is what the devil wants you to think. If he can get you believing the, “now I’ve blown it” mentality, he knows you’re just going to stop trying altogether! Don’t let any of his schemes make you walk away from your faith or keep you from persevering.
“God is not holding you to the standard you hold others to.”Pastor Michael Todd, Transformation Church
It’s not that Jesus didn’t heal you, it’s just that we have to recognize this is the reality of our whole life. We’re going to mess it up, but it’s all used for a greater purpose. He won’t stop uprooting and working on each flawed layer within us until the day He calls us home to Him. It can be a painful, unexpected work, but it’s what draws us closer to Him, shaping us more in His image.
I started talking to a psychologist for perception during this processing. I benefited from his insight on my brain’s functions and psychological makeup. Until I hit a wall with this secular counselor as he pushed to unearth where I might’ve been feeling hopeless.
Truthfully, I drew a blank. So I took some time. I processed, prayed, and dug back into my past to see if I could find an answer to his prompt. I’m all about challenging myself for growth and self-awareness so I wanted to make it work!
I allowed him to know everything within my life and experiences, unafraid of vulnerability. But there’s something (someone) in me that just does not compute with hopelessness anymore.
What he didn’t understand is, no matter what I’m struggling with, I’m not hopeless in Christ. That’s the biggest difference between BC and AC for any believer. Even when the weaknesses persist, and the reality of ourself doesn’t match the “perfect” standard we’ve set, we know we can stop striving and let Christ be our hope and strength.
“My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”Psalm 73:26
I was guided back to the realistic, sobering notion that I can’t exactly flip a switch and away goes my past. My tendencies, the storylines, the memories, they may always linger. Of course that’s not to minimize how any chain can be broken by the power of Jesus. But it’s unrealistic to say I’d never be tempted or susceptible to pitfalls just because I’m in Christ now. The enemy wants me to have such naive thinking so that I name-and-claim a false reality over myself. Yes, declare the righteousness of Christ over our identity and minds. But we can’t be blind to our tendencies.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.James 3:17
In God’s higher wisdom and truth, I receive clear identity. He accepts my flaws, so I know to accept them for myself as well. Acceptance gives clarity that I’m not perfect, so I don’t have to fear possible failure. From here, I can release any failed thinking before it does turn into action.
This is where we reach our greatest vantage point: Recognizing the constant need for God due to how sick our impulsive heart can be.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”Jeremiah 17:9
Not only is God bringing us to a higher level of ourselves, but also keeping us clinging to Him. All He wants is our active participation in the relationship with Him. Just like any good father, family member, friend, or partner.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in awe of God’s love and commitment to me all over again, as He teaches me something I needed to know, no matter how painful the lesson. His love, grace, and commitment are what moves me to keep fighting to do better. Where we recognize the price paid for us on the cross, and refuse to take advantage of it, but accept the free gift of salvation as it was intended. Be humbled, repent, and dance in greater strength and freedom!
Prayer: Lord, keep us in constant reliance of You as we become more aware of our tendencies that don’t honor You and have caused us to stumble in any way. Draw your children back into the arms of your love. Forgive us of our troubled hearts and perpetual mistakes. Help us grow in wisdom and strength for the benefit of a greater love across the globe and for Your glory! Thank You for the richness of your grace. Thank You for the trials and experiences that cause us to know You more, as we become refined through the fire all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ precious, mighty, and saving name. Amen.
To be continued…
NEXT UP: I’ll be getting more into tangible ways of managing weakness, God’s promised mercies of it, and the hope found. I’ll be going into my favorite passage on all this, 2 Corinthians 12. Get ready!
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