Monday, June 3, 2013

Confession: there's something I'm not good at

I'm here to confess something that I'm not very good at.

Before I do that, you should realize that nobody likes to admit their weaknesses. In a society where we value "the survival of the fittest" and "natural selection", to admit weakness is to go in the very face of what we culturally know to be "right and true".

But, what really is 'right and true'?? The apostle Paul had many thoughts on this very subject. In fact, one of his more quoted passages regards his own inability to overcome.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT) 

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 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. 10 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.

So if Paul, one of the most respected Christian leaders to follow Christ, boasts of his weakness, then should we follow? God's not impressed with what WE can do as much as what we allow HIM to do through us.

Imagine attending a symphony. You're waiting for the music to start when you notice very peculiar things. The instruments are talking back to the musicians! The instruments try and try to make sound on their own-to no avail. Yet, they continue to try and disallow the musicians to work. Any accidental noises that occur are far from melodious.

Perhaps that was too preposterous for you. Here's another try: imagine a 6 year old getting into the driver's seat of your car. Though the child may be just long enough to reach the pedals by perching on the edge of the seat or by standing, the comprehension and reaction time necessary to navigate the roads safely is still developing. The child may know where the final destination is located, but cannot possibly travel alone, unharmed. You might know a safer way, you can consider ahead of time which route is shortest or predict what other drivers will be doing when they catch up to you.
Though you have been driving for a lot longer, this child still argues with you. "I'm not two anymore! I can tie my own shoes! I can read all the road signs now! I know the colors and I know that red is stop and green is go!" "This is the gas, this is the brake!"

In our search for importance, approval, significance, we long to show God what we can do. We want Him to be proud of us.

What is my weakness? I tend to distract from it, but I don't ask for help very well. The oldest of five very responsible children, I loved the praise I received for doing things on my own. Independence is valued very much in our culture, and is necessary if we are ever to live on our own, but there can be a pride involved where we block God's ability to do even MORE.

In a project environment, I know I'll do a good job. If I have a team, I hesitate to delegate, not wanting to burden others, or I get worried that somebody's poor performance will reflect on me. Group projects, I would usually end up doing most of it myself and we'd all receive the grade I wanted. In our hearts, God wants to get rid of the self-assured, self-centered, self-focused mini-god on our throne. He wants to be King. His approval, His words, His voice calming and reassuring us, that is what we need. That is why we feel so depressed, weary, tired, empty. Doing it alone is not what He ever intended for us.
Philippians 4:13 (NCV)
 I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.

So, I'll boast in this weakness-I'm an imperfect, prideful, stubborn little soul who longs to be perfected, humble and yielding to the leadership of He who is perfect forever and ever. And? He created me this way, and loves me unconditionally-whether or not I'm talking back that day. The more I know Him and spend time with Him, the more I let Him do things and watch and learn from His example.
Someday, I'll get it...and then I won't need to be here learning anymore. I'll be ready to go to Heaven and go do that which He created me to do! Until then, I'm here toiling away.