2 Corinthians 12:10...for when I am weak, then I am strong.
My son is 6 years old, and he is a human wrecking ball. He destroys everything in his path. Not in a big green Hulk kind of way, but more in a mad scientist kind of way. He takes EVERYTHING apart. Light-up yoyos, cars, spiral notebooks, toy guns--all in pieces within hours. Drives. Me. Crazy. I’m a Type A personality, and Type As are all about putting things together, not tearing them apart. We like things neat, orderly, and in their places (I know, you can’t tell by the state of my house most days). We get satisfaction from things being, well...right. So to walk in my kid’s room and see something torn apart or broken just sends me off the deep end. So needless to say....get out my floaties, because I’m living in the deep end!
But I heard a sermon the other day that really convicted me. It was talking about Adam and Eve before the Fall, and it talked about how humans are hard-wired to have certain characteristics because we were created for a sinless world. So the characteristics we have such trouble with now wouldn’t have been a problem at all in the Garden, before sin entered into the picture. God was going to use them for good. Let that sink in while I float here for a bit...
I started thinking about the character traits that I consider to be weaknesses. In my son, for example, his constant propensity to destroy and dismantle is a weakness in a world of sin, but if I were to consider it a strength instead, I could see how it could be a very inquisitive mind, wanting to see how things work, and skilled hands figuring out the mechanics of things. Perhaps...the mind of a mechanical engineer? That’s exactly what my son says he wants to be when he grows up. Hmm….
How about my sweet teenage daughter (I say through clenched teeth)? She has NO regard for putting away clothes in her room. She will literally crawl in bed under the Mount Everest pile of clothes before she worries herself about putting things in proper places before bedtime. It’s just not a big deal to her. I take a paper bag to her room because I know I’m going to hyperventilate when I see the mess! In a world of weakness, she is a First-Class-Type-B- doesn’t-really-matter mess-maker. But if I’m really honest with myself, her strength is that she can ride the bumps of life with a much better attitude than my high-strung self, because she just takes things in stride and knows... it doesn’t really matter. Wow! It makes me downright envious of her!
Let’s try it with my husband (I’ll tread lightly, since he’s the one who wanted me to start this blog in the first place). Everything is black and white to him. There’s just no in-between. It’s maddening to me sometimes, until I realize that it’s a blessing. When something happens and I’m throwing myself on the floor in my dramatic Scarlett O’Hara fashion, he’s quick to take charge and take action, decisively and definitively, while I’m still fanning myself and crying “whatever shall we do?” (insert southern accent here).
Then I start to look at my own weaknesses, and as one who struggles with feeling unworthy, this is hard for me. It takes more thought, more work, but I eventually figure it out. My Type A control-freak tendencies could be used to help organize the world! People like me are the worker bees that help keep things in sync. My impatience? Excitement and energy to get things done. Overly sensitive dramatic side? Allows me to have empathy for others. My bossiness? Um...strong leadership skills??
My point is, we are so quick to magnify the weaknesses in ourselves and others, when we should be looking through God’s lens. In His eyes, every characteristic He instilled in us was never meant to be a weakness, but rather a virtue that He can use to glorify Him. We are using as weapons what He meant to be tools. I don’t know about you, but that helps me to not only have grace and mercy with my precious kiddos, but to also cut myself some slack.
I encourage you to take this step: actually sit down this week and write out in one column what you consider to be your weaknesses. Then, on the other side, turn those weaknesses into strengths. What does that trait look like through God’s eyes? You can even find bible verses that support it so you can have proof of what God says, a reminder when you’re being too hard on yourself. And remember to extend God’s grace and mercy to others too, because your Creator is their Creator, and He made us all to shine His glory.
Embrace your newfound strengths this week and shine on!