Embracing Weakness

July 19, 2022

I have been pretty quiet the last little while. No art, no blogs and social media has been a bit of a graveyard.

I have been walking past my art desk day after day, feeling despondent. It has started to feel like what God laid on my heart many years ago, is starting to be visible only in my rear view mirror. It’s no longer before me, something I move towards. I have found myself wondering if it still means anything. Wondering whether it is still something to be pursued. I suppose it’s a part of life isn’t it? There are times where everything is shiny and exciting and it doesn’t take much willpower to get things done. It just comes naturally. But then the season changes and everything feels like an uphill battle. In fact, you’re not even sure you have the energy to make it to the foot of the mountain, never mind the summit.

Weakness

Feeling weak isn’t a very glamorous feeling is it? It is most definitely not for me.

I have been pondering the idea of weakness recently.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 CSB

This is one of those poetic scriptures that we love to quote. It sounds wonderful off the bat, but for the first time I found myself struggling with it.

Thorn in the flesh

I want to take steps to do what God has called me to, I want to pursue Him, but I should probably wait until I’m better. I should wait until I’m back on the mountain top – a more holy version of what I am now. That makes sense? Right? Reading a verse like the one above is great when you have momentum and you’re feeling motivated and encouraged. It’s not hard to believe that God can do something amazing through your weakness when you’re not focused on it either.

The word “weakness” can be translated to “thorn in the flesh”. It could have referenced something physical, emotional, or connected to some temptation. I read all the things that Paul mentions that he takes pleasure in – weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions etc. Reading all of those, the one I still battle with is weakness. The other things on the list point to external factors, the things you have no control over. Weakness points internally. It points to something inside himself that he needs to wrestle with.

An act of your will

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been learning the power and importance of our will. Doing what needs to be done when nothing in you feels you should, can, or are qualified to in any way. The warm fluffies of inspiration are great, but the strain of mountain climbing when you already feel like you’ve lost your breath is not very glamorous. It’s not the selfie you post and it is most certainly not the picture you frame.

I have felt so overcome by my own weaknesses that nothing in me has wanted to ‘boast’ or ‘take pleasure’ in any of it. It has felt impossible for God to use me in any way and I have become close to giving up on any hope, dream or enthusiasm that kept me going up the mountain. I share this, purely because I don’t think I’m the only one who has fallen victim to these seasons of life.

This year has been marked by steps taken, just because I know it was the right thing to do. Not because I felt particularly inspired or really wanted to as such. Because I know who God is and I trust that He is faithful to help, to heal and to move. He is able to do more than I think or imagine, so I can dare to take a step even if I feel incredibly unqualified to do so. Even if I am still wrestling with a few weaknesses… a few thorns in the flesh. I don’t have to wait until I arrive or until perfection comes before God can use my yes.

In fact, God isn’t going to wait on my perfection either. He has called me to do things and impact people, just like you.

Stones of remembrance

I write to you today, still in the wrestling. I have not arrived yet and some places of my heart still feels tender and is still searching God’s heart. Looking at my art desk again, I still have a hard time sitting there. However, what is different is that I actually sit there. Not as much as I would like, but I am on a journey to get there again.

About 4… 5 years ago I started to carry a notebook with me everywhere. I wrote every thought, dream, profound art quote or revelation in there and it is filled from cover to cover. I might not feel the inspiration right now, but the 2018 version of me wrote these things down specifically for a season like this. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of what God has said. Sometimes you have to go and take a look back at the stones from times past to remind yourself that He is still faithful, even now (Joshua 4).

The necessity of breaking

If you take nothing from this little blog, perhaps you can take this: even if you feel overwhelmed by weakness right now, God can do incredible and amazing things through you. No, you won’t ‘feel’ like it, and no, it won’t be an easy walk to the summit. It might require a few breaks and you may need to discard a few things from the load you’re carrying. God’s grace is enough and his power is perfected in weakness. Anyone that has ever gone on a hike, went for a run or done exercise of any kind will know – pain and discomfort is a sign that you’re getting stronger. Muscles need to break to become strong. Let’s not dismiss the holiness or the necessity of ‘breaking’.

The goal is never the end destination, it’s the journey we take to get there. And sometimes, the real win is just being able to refocus and embrace the adventure of walking with God, regardless of which stage of the climb we’re on. What a privilege to serve a God who climbs with us, who never let’s us take a step alone and more than anything, doesn’t leave us behind when we lose our breath and need to take a break.

He is walking with us. We will get to where we need to go.

Hope is a choice

Embracing weakness, at least for me, has meant that I intentionally try and believe that I don’t have to wait to arrive before God can use me. It has meant that I don’t wait for the inspiration to find me, but I go and find it. I trust, I believe and I do everything I can to stir up hope. Hope for the future, and hope for the now. Life can leave us feeling so stuck sometimes. It can knock the wind our of anyone’s sails.

God is the God of hope though. And I’m learning that even hope is sometimes an act of my will. Hope is a choice. It is the gear that will get you up the mountain. Hope is the hiking boots, the oxygen tank and the K-Way jacket that enables us to do what feels impossible.

After all, we were made to do impossible things. So, let’s embrace our weakness and know that God is not just on the summit of our perceived arrivals, but He is in every step that we take. Let’s rest when we need to, choose hope at all times and dare to do scary things even when we hear the voice of disqualification echoing through the mountains.

You are not alone. We can do this.

5 Responses

  1. You’re one of the most hopeful, inspiring people I know. You’ll be back to creating soon and it will contain a freshness and energy that only comes from a bit of a break.

  2. Lelané, you are such a special human. I can’t tell you how your experiences resonates with me. I will be keeping you near in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing and in turn inspiring. God has a purpose and we trust in Him – always!

    1. Thanks so much Chené – it’s always worth sharing if it means someone can resonate with something along the lines. I so appreciate the kind and encouraging words 🙂

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