Strength in Weakness

Liar, liar, pants on fire! (Some random line about a telephone wire…)

Kids chant about obvious falsehood, tiny truth radars built into their DNA. They can often spot a lack of genuine character a mile away. Sadly, though, we grow out of our ability to quickly spot lies around us, and nowhere is the resulting damage more significant than in our souls. There is a liar out to get us, prowling around seeking whom he may devour. Inattentive hearts are easy prey for him.

I have believed many lies from the enemy—the future will never be better than this horrible moment, I’ve got to fend for myself, God won’t keep me around me unless I earn a spot at the table, blah blah blah. None of these are particularly creative. Pretty standard, actually, but oh so razor-sharp when swallowed. The most recent lie God brought to my attention is that I have to be strong all the time. To let my guard down and truly rest is to invite disaster.

I like strength, run to verses that tell me I’m more than a conqueror, that I can do all things through Christ, how I’ve been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, and that I should make my arms strong. I am, I can, I have, and I should. But that’s only half the story.

A passage I don’t give as much thought to? “My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness.” The flesh (mine, at least) cries out against this as a last-ditch attempt to save face in the midst of failure, the final option once everything else has been tried. I never run to this Scripture first and lean into it with passion. If I have a weakness, I self-medicate with new resources or more energy or better advice. Embrace my weakness as an opportunity for Christ to show Himself big? That’s weird.

When I’m busy being strong in my life, the real might is sucked out like a vacuum. You’d think I’d learn from all of the stories in the Bible about people who try to deal with life apart from God and how it always goes south. If the Lord’s power is made perfect in my weakness, then it follows that it is made weak in my strength. How can I lock eyes with the One who ransomed me and choose to bench Him so that I can have my day in the hot sun? (Thank you, Nacho Libre.) It takes a special kind of crazy to choose to replace the force that unleashed the universe with my own need for control. But yes, a special kind of crazy, that’s me. Nice to meet you.

This culture calls for strong women who can handle everything. To be seen as weak, to rest well, to admit defeat or lack, to let down our guard, is to commit a subtle form of social suicide.

You know what? I’m tired of this self-propelled existence void of any power but my own. Enough.

It’s only when I empty myself of the illusion of my own ability that I can welcome the reality of God’s power into a situation. These lies that I need to hold the world up and keep it spinning exhaust my soul. There is ample space here for me to sit quietly, needy, at the feet of Jesus and let Him pick up my heavy load. “The world was never your responsibility,” He says gently. His eyes are kind; I remember that He hasn’t stopped being the God of light burdens and easy yokes. As He pulls me to my feet and into a bear hug, I realize I can breathe deeply for the first time in a long time. This is rest. This is strength. This is home. This is how the battle is won.

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

(Zechariah 4:7b)

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