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.

Why don’t I ask God questions more?

What is it about humans that we think we can do everything on our own? Maybe it’s just me. I struggle with this a lot because I have this idea that I can do everything by myself. I’m super independent and very stubborn. I don’t like to ask for directions. I don’t like to ask for help, whether it’s physically or financially. If I can’t do it myself, then I don’t need to do it.

But we were never intended to go through life like that. If we were supposed to be that independent, God would have only made one human. God could have been satisfied with Adam if He’d thought Adam could do everything by himself, but He didn’t. God made Eve too because Adam needed help.

So many times I avoid asking for help because I don’t want to be thought weak. That’s my biggest personal fear–people thinking I’m weak. And it’s gotten me in more trouble than any other of my own little personal issues. Because it’s nothing but pride.

I’ve talked about how I struggle with pride before, but it’s a real problem for me. And I never stop being amazed at how many forms pride can take in my life. And it gets to the point that I refuse to ask for help when I absolutely need it. And I’ve even gotten to the point where I refuse to ask God for help because I’m so ashamed that I can’t do something on my own.

Do you see how silly that is? Of course, I can’t do everything on my own. God didn’t make anyone to be so independent that they shouldn’t ask people (or Him) for help. That’s pride talking, and that’s Satan whispering lies in our ears through our own pride.

The verse this morning made me think of my proclivity to this specific problem.

Jeremiah 33:2-3

“This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: 3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

We don’t know everything. Honestly, we don’t know anything. We think we know a lot but I’m convinced that more than half of what we think we know is either misguided or imaginary.

I think I understand my life and my position and my place and my future, but my understanding at this point in my existence is flawed. And me trying to make it on my own through life without ever asking for help is foolish. Because when it gets right down to it, I’m blind on my own. If I don’t ask God for help and guidance, I’ll run into things.

This verse is encouraging us to ask God questions. He wants us to ask Him questions. He wants us to seek Him. He wants to tell us things that we can’t figure out on our own. He wants to reveal truth to us on a level that we can’t find without seeking Him. Remember, this is God. He made everything. He made the universe. He hung the stars in space. He keeps the Earth spinning. He keeps us breathing every day. He holds it all together. And this is Him inviting us openly to ask Him any question we want.

Isn’t that spectacular?

So why don’t we? Why don’t I ask Him questions? Why don’t I seek Him with every breath and with all my heart? Why do I insist on doing things myself?

Probably because I’m stubborn. And stubbornnes can be a good trait when its focused on something worth being stubborn about. But a stubborn fool isn’t good for much.

So my goal for today is to stop being so stubborn about things I think I understand and to run to God with my questions, even when I don’t feel like I deserve to ask them. God wants to reveal things to us. He wants to tell us what He knows, share His wisdom and His heart. But He won’t force anything on us. We just have to ask.