Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

What’s so bad about being weak?

If you’ve been reading this crazy blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably picked up on a couple of my idiosyncrasies, the most obvious being my stubbornness.

I’m stubborn. I make a mule look agreeable. Not that I’m unpleasant in my stubbornness, but politely insisting on doing things my own way doesn’t make me any less obstinate than if I were rude about it.

Don’t get me wrong. Being stubborn can be a good trait, when you’re focused on doing the right things. But if your perspective is off, if you aren’t rooted in the truth, being stubborn can be dangerous.

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9.

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.

I had a conversation with my cousin last Friday about how we both hate to admit weakness. About anything. And I had to laugh because I guess being stubborn really does run in the family, because all of us are that way. My parents. My uncles. My brother. And I guess my cousins too.

We never want to admit that we’re too weak to accomplish something. We never want to give in when we’re faced with a challenge, whether it’s an impossible work schedule, an incurable disease, or a dream that can’t ever come true. We just never back down.

And, again, in some instances, that’s good. And laudable. Even admirable. After all, that’s the stuff of underdogs-turned-heroes. And everyone cheers for those sorts of people, and rightfully so. But not every story ends that way. And sometimes living wisely means recognizing your weaknesses for what they are–chances for God to be glorified.

Oh, that makes me cringe. Weakness? I’m never weak. I hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of dirt in the interior of Mexico because painting was too girly. I lifted a hundred pound bag of cement to prove that I could. I’ve lived alone in a 100-year-old house, weathered storms and floods and blizzards by myself, for six years.

Did you count the I’s in that paragraph? Like my life is about me, like my life is all about me proving something to myself and to people around me, and if that’s all my life amounts to, I’ve missed the point.

Here’s the deal, folks. It’s good to have an opinion as long as it agrees with what God says is true. It’s good to be courageous enough to stick to your guns in the face of opposition. It’s laudable to chase your dreams and keep picking yourself up when you fall on your face. Nothing worth achieving was easy to obtain.

But life isn’t about you, and it isn’t about proving how tough or strong you are. As Christ followers, our lives should be about showing the world how awesome God is. And the best way to do that is through our weaknesses, because when we back off and trust our lives to Him, He shines through in a way that is nothing short of miraculous.

When we are scrabbling and struggling to give our all and prove that we’re not weak, all we really accomplish is what we’re capable of. And, if we’d be honest with ourselves, what we’re capable of isn’t that great. What we’re capable of can’t change the world. What we’re capable of can’t make a difference in anyone’s lives, let alone our own.

But what is God capable of? What can God do? What will He do if we just let go of our fear and anxiety and our control freak tendencies and let Him work?

I’m weak. So is everybody else. But my God is strong. Stronger than I am capable of even imagining, and He wants to help me, to live life with me, to be my friend and help and guide and comforter.

So what are you being stubborn about today? Is it your job? Your hobbies? Your habits? Your family or your friends? Your possessions? Your comfort? If it’s something God has told you is right, then go ahead and be stubborn about it all day long. He’s got your back in that case.

But if you’re just being stubborn to prove a point, if you’re just being difficult because you can, that’s not an attitude God will bless. That’s pride. So knock it off. So what if it means people will think you’re weak? Tell those folks to go look in a mirror.

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Elements for the Seder meal (parsley, horseradish, salt water, and charoset), Wichita, KS

It would have been enough

I never used to cry in church. As a child, I’d watch adults cry and lift their hands during the worship service in church and wonder what there was to get so emotional about. Sure, I knew God, and I had a relationship with Him through Christ. He’d forgiven me of my sins, and I was thankful for that. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around how anyone could be so overcome by emotion just by singing a song.

Then I grew up. A relationship with Christ looks a lot different when you’re a child than when you’re an adult.

When I met Jesus, I was seven years old, and–let’s face it–there’s not a whole lot that a seven year old can do that needs the grace of God. Yes, a seven year old needs God just as much as a 70 year old, but one has lived a lot longer than the other–enough to make more bad choices.

I’ve lived long enough now to understand exactly how much God has forgiven me for. I’ve made enough bad choices–I’ve sinned enough–to understand why God shouldn’t love me, and a day doesn’t go by that I’m not amazed that He does anyway. But what amazes me even more is the fact that He didn’t stop with saving me. He loves me enough to take care of me too.

Elements for the Seder meal (parsley, horseradish, salt water, and charoses), Wichita, KS

Elements for the Seder meal (parsley, horseradish, salt water, and charoses), Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is 1 Peter 5:7.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

At the Seder meal I was fortunate enough to attend a few weeks ago, there’s one part where the leader reads a list of all the things God did for the Israelites. After each statement, the rest of the people at the table say: “It would have been enough.”

Because it would have been. It would have been enough if God had just led them out of Egypt. It would have been enough if God had just showed them how to build a temple. It would have been enough if God had just provided them with manna. It would have been enough. But it wasn’t enough for God. Because of His love, He went the extra mile.

That holds true today, and that’s what hit me as I sang in church this weekend. If God had stopped with just making a way for us to go to heaven, it would have been enough–more than enough. But He didn’t stop there.

Not only did He save our souls, but He made a way for us to communicate with Him, to have a relationship with Him, to live life with Him. He cares about us enough so that when we need Him, we just have to tell Him what’s happening. He cares about our problems. He cares about our daily life, and He wants to be a part of it.

Can we really understand that? Because there’s no reason why someone like God should care about people like us. But He does.

God deserves our praise and worship for being who He is. The Creator of the universe. The Eternal One. He alone is truly good and righteous, and for that reason alone, we should worship Him. But instead of being a distant, terrifying Deity, instead He sent His Son to die for our freedom because He loved us enough to sacrifice for us. Instead of standing on the sidelines of history, God has touched every moment in time. There’s not a moment when He hasn’t been involved in our lives. There’s not a time when He hasn’t cared about our feelings, our fears, our futures.

Do we get that?

Even if He hadn’t done so much for us, He’d still be worthy of praise. It would have been enough for us, but it wasn’t enough for Him.

So when your Monday becomes Mondayish today, take a moment and step back from your problems. Tell God about what’s bothering you because He cares about your life. He wants to be a part of every decision you make. He wants to walk through life with you.

Let Him. It’s the best choice you’ll ever make. And the more you get to know Him, the more you’ll understand just how much He loves you. The more you’ll understand just how much you don’t deserve His love. And then, you’ll cry in church too.