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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Finding Strength In Weakness

I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who has a difficult time asking for help. I hate needing it in the first place, so asking for assistance is pure torture. Putting people out for my own benefit isn’t my idea of fun at all; probably because it means exposing the fact that I don’t have complete control of my life and that I’m not fantastically awesome at everything.

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you struggle to admit your weaknesses? I think most of us do this to some degree, even though everyone knows that we can’t be perfect at everything. But you know what?  I think it might be time to start.

This morning was my first time back at the gym after a five week hiatus. I have a bulging disc in my back, and I needed a break in order to heal. I was so excited to get the “go ahead” that I went straight home from the doctor and donned my workout attire. I love pushing myself physically. I was an athlete in high school, and love the challenge of “one more.” Just one more push-up, one more minute on the treadmill, you get the idea.  

But today was different. I really don’t want to hurt my back again. I want to be able to go back to the gym tomorrow, and I would like to be able to roll over in bed without waking up in pain. So, instead of pushing myself, I had to realize that I was a little weak. A little broken.  I had to admit my weakness and deal with it head on.

What if we all did this? What if we look at our lives and say “You know what? I can’t do this.” I’ve been there. I’ve moved two houses by myself. I’ve read deployment papers that meant a year of loneliness. I’ve had the knowledge that an actual baby was going to come out. of. my. body.

 For each of those events, I was fairly certain I wouldn’t survive. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, but I didn’t want to ask for help. Until one day, I would break down, call a friend, and confess that I wasn’t amazing, or strong, or together and “please come and help me because I’m just not as perfect as I wanted you to think I was!”

 And you know what? There was always plentiful help to be found. Friends rallied husbands and sons, and houses were packed and moved. People prayed, brought dinner, and loved on our family during deployments. Midwives helped bring three babies into this world. I could have done none of those things on my own. (I don’t care what the people who give birth in the wilderness say. I needed a midwife.)

When we admit our weaknesses to each other, we open ourselves up to be blessed by those who love us. My friend Lindsey is the best at this. She enjoys helping! Lindsey has helped me clean an empty rental house, move the junk from that house to the new one, and she’s basically P’s second mother. Lindsey loves people well, and I’m blessed to have been helped by her. But you know what Lindsey will probably tell you? That she’s the blessed one. See, some of us are blessed by blessing others. If we don’t allow those who are gifted in the art of helpfulness to help us, we’re stealing their opportunity to bless us, AND were stealing their blessing. Guys, let people help you!

Something I really battled last year wasn’t admitting to others that I was struggling, but hiding it from God. As if He didn’t know my life was a mess. I was trying to avoid Him by being silent. Instead of crying out to Him because I had a child going through severe behavior issues, my husband was away, and I was a disaster, I hid. Even though I knew God’s strength would be sufficient for my entire family, I couldn’t bring myself to that level of vulnerability. With no husband at home, and by giving God the cold shoulder, 2014 became a pretty lonely existence.

A reflective person by nature, I’m thankful to realize the error I committed when I made the conscious choice not to lay my struggles at the foot of the cross.  If I had asked, God would have provided me with peace and strength to overcome my weakness. Instead, He quietly watched. Never leaving, but waiting to answer prayers I never prayed.

Friends, if we aren’t willing to admit to being broken and weak, we’ll never be able to receive the strength that God so deeply wants to provide for us.  But God isn’t intrusive. He isn’t going to take over without our permission. He waits for us to invite Him to help.

Do you see how much strength we can find when we admit we’re weak? That we need help? That we aren’t perfect? Dear friends, God knew before you were born that you wouldn’t be infallible. That’s why He sent Jesus. Where we are weak, He is strong.  We just have to look at our broken, tired hearts and ask for help. And when we do, we get to feel a deep strength only He can provide.

How can you ask for help today? I’d love to read your comments below! 

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