At the end of May, I did a Words with Women event based on these two things, discussing what it means to be “strong” or “weak” as a woman. The conversation was truly amazing…I loved hearing each woman’s perspective and thoughts on these themes. And it’s crazy how God will lead you to some topics, and then bring them back up as time goes on.
Last week, I thought about weakness.
It was my second week being back at work, y’all, and I was TIRED. My feet had been hurting from walking and standing around again after three months of resting them. I’d been getting back to my heavier workouts so almost each night, my body would ache from a previous workout I’d done. Not to mention, since going back to work, I’m now only getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night because that’s just when I’m able to manage hitting my bed after getting off work, working out, eating, showering, and spending a little time for myself through writing, reading, or playing the game (I recently got a Nintendo Switch with my boyfriend, so that’s been fun to play for the past week-and-a-half!).
But one morning last week, I was just feeling so weak. Like I wasn’t prepared to get through the day because my energy was spent…and it was only Tuesday!
Then I began to think about these verses in the Bible:
“But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“My Grace is sufficient for you…”
The context of these verses is that the writer Paul is discussing the “thorn in his flesh” that he’d prayed God would take away from him several times, but God replied with the verses above. While I’m not sure exactly what Paul’s “thorn in his flesh” was (2 Corinthians 12:7 leans towards a spiritual battle as he refers to a “messenger of Satan”) I know I can definitely relate to having “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” of my own, no matter what they may be!
But it is only through weakness that we can truly and fully become stronger, and that strength isn’t our own, but is solely through dependence on the Lord. We can’t sit in the comfortability of always being strong, wise, certain, or successful, and expect to learn, to mature, to grow, to become even stronger than we are now. There has to be a period of weakness. And through both times of strength and weakness, we have to lean into God.
Those who follow me on social media know that Tula, my pink hibiscus plant, has finally bloomed after about a month of being barren. She would have buds form, and then they’d fall off. I was so crushed that she wasn’t blooming, and I even wrote a poem about this phase of her life cycle as a metaphor for the phase I was in with my poetry (which also seemed to be lacking). But after researching and experimenting (i.e., making my own insecticide to spray on her) she opened up a big, beautiful pink flower a couple of weekends ago, and surprisingly, it stayed around for about 2.5 days.
My yellow hibiscus plant (Reyna) has flowers that only last about one full day and start to shrivel and close back up. When I mentioned this difference to my boyfriend, he said that maybe after being dormant for so long and fighting off those pests, she came back stronger. Tula has become yet another metaphor for my life, and maybe even for your life too!
We all go through phases of weakness, and it looks different for each person. The phase could be long or short; it could deal with different aspects of life. It could be something you really have to persist through, or something that takes one moment of getting over. In any case, we must be able to withstand the phase to become stronger. But, how do we do that?
It is good to actively do something about your weakness! The first step should be to go to God for wisdom on which steps to take, and He will graciously show you the things you need to do. It could be setting boundaries, doing more in an area, getting help, admitting weakness to someone close to you, etc. In this, I believe that we truly need to embrace the weakness, and understand that it is not our own power that will carry us through.
A lot of times people will cry out to God only when they’re at the end of their rope: when they’ve tried any and everything to improve their situation. When really, as soon as we realize the weakness we’re in, that’s when we have to understand that it is an opportunity for God’s strength to shine through us. He may be allowing you to go through something so that your testimony of that time will point back to Him!
So, as you go through your daily life, and as you encounter different times in which you feel weak, remind yourself that it is a time in which you can really see God work in you and through you! Don’t be so quick to beg Him to take it away, but allow Him to teach you through the weakness, and to show you just how powerful He is!