LENTEN CONNECTIONS 2015: His Strength in My Weakness

Lent:  A Time to Prepare

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

During this time of Lent, I have found myself reflecting on last fall, a season in my life filled with repentance and spiritual growth.  The fall is always a time of new beginnings and this certainly was true for me.  This past September, I was given the wonderful opportunity to work in women’s ministries.  Even though this was an area that had interested me for a long time, I had always felt that I lacked the right skills and experience for it.  The people around me were really supportive and encouraging, but even with that I couldn’t help but doubt my abilities.  Pressured by this sense of inadequacy, I reverted back to my competitive and athletic-minded way of dealing with challenges:  practice, prepare and be the best.  I tried to visualize my own idea of success and chased after that.  I thought that I could meet these challenges with my own strength.

After several weeks, things started to fall apart.  I was continually disappointed with myself; things were not going as I had pictured.  I figured I should have gotten a grip on things by now.  I had set my expectations staggeringly high and now I was inevitably falling short.  I was overwhelmed by my sense of failure, and convinced that everyone else could see it too.

The Deceiver was filling my mind with lies and I believed every one of them.  My inner voice was overwhelming me with self-doubt, an endless tape constantly reminding me that I wasn’t good enough.  In my eyes, the shame of failing and being seen failing was always the worst thing that could happen.  I was ready to quit and run away.

As I sat, discouraged, in prayer, God found a slight opening to my anxious heart and whispered, “Stay.  This is where I want you.  Stay.”

“Really?  But I’m failing,” I cried.

The Lord questioned my soul, “How am I to mold you, if you will not sit on my potter’s wheel?”  “How am I to transform you if my workings you consider your failings?”

His questions made me stop.  It wasn’t the comfort I was expecting or hoping for.  He opened my eyes to the fear that was gripping my life and keeping me from growing in him.  I was ashamed to see how little I truly trusted him.  He showed me how my self-reliance was fueled by my sin and fear.  I had ignored him in my efforts to serve him, and yet, he was still working to refine and mold me.  He was starting to change my perspective on failing, seeing these experiences more as opportunities to learn and grow, of God doing his transformative work.  I realized failure was not found in struggling with the task set before me, but instead was found in simply being too afraid to step out of my comfort zone.  He was challenging me to do life differently and give up being controlled by fear in order to begin to fully trust him.

He whispered again, “Stay.”

So I hesitantly chose to stay and not run away, knowing this was my first step in trusting him.  From that point on, I asked God to be with me and guide me in all that I did.  I willingly sat on his potter’s wheel, and although being molded was at times painful, I felt blessed that he cared to work on me.  I was beginning to think that failing was not as bad as I always thought it was.  Slowly, I was beginning to get a glimpse of the woman God wanted me to become.  I’m so glad I chose to stay.

Prayer: Dear God, as we prepare our hearts to follow Jesus to the cross, may you help us to die to ourselves so that we may be made new in you.  May we not fear, but rest securely in your love and transformative plan for us.  May we have the courage to stay and to trust you with every aspect of our lives.  Amen.

Submitted by Julie Young