Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weakness

Weakness is a word that has been going through my mind the last few weeks. More specifically, the notion of embracing personal weakness has been something God has been impressing upon my heart. Through recent insightful comments by friends and various things I've read, I've been reminded of the necessity of weakness in allowing God to display His power in our lives. It's not like I haven't known that in my head. One of my favorite Scriptures says it clearly. But it seems like lately God is really wanting me to experience it. And He's certainly not withholding opportunities to teach me how to make that a reality in my life! Part of me is ready to scream, "I get it, God! You can stop now!" but I know that He's right. Embracing my weakness really is the only way to be strong. I'm starting to taste it a little. And it is good. But taking a position of lowness and being ok in it is still an act that is contrary to the desires of the human nature. So, it's a struggle. To say the least. But earlier this month, I experienced something that amazed me. I was suddenly in an unexpected battle, fearing that overcoming its hurt and disappointment would be a process that might never end. I was shocked by the immediacy of the healing God graciously poured out to me, and He made me realize that it resulted from a lack of effort on my own part to make the situation right. See, I didn't have a clue how to do that. I was in a place where I had no answer. No great idea for how to overcome this one. No insight into how healing might come. No direction. No understanding of what the next moment would bring or how to endure it. There was nothing in me that could fix this. And I knew it right away. Confessing my inability to deal with it was really the only thing God needed. I don't know why I was surprised by it, but He actually healed my heart before I ever had a clue as to how He was going to do it. I realized something about myself: that I tend to look for how He's going to do something before just surrendering to however He wants to do something. I usually rely on my own understanding of what I think He can do (maybe based on what I've seen Him do before), and while I'm tricking myself into thinking I'm looking to Him for help, I'm actually just looking no further than myself. It limits me in receiving His power, I know. I get just a little more what the apostle Paul is saying. God waits for us to come to a place where all we can say is, "I've got nothing, Lord. Nothing. I have no solution. No way to endure this. Nothing. All I have is you." Certainly, there are times He mercifully steps in to save us from our destructive self-centered striving before we actually ever get to the place of brokenness on our own. So sweet of Him. But I'm convinced that when we refuse to go there on our own, we tend to just delay the beautiful things He wants to do in our lives, especially His provision of grace and strength and peace and healing. The kind that just blows us away. The miraculous kind.

I've mulled over this some over the last month, and I'm writing about it this afternoon as an exercise in reminding myself of these truths. I hit a wall of frustration today and I started to have a big temper tantrum over it as I sat in my living room, just me and God. I was disappointed in not seeing results in ministry efforts. It doesn't usually bother me to not see positive fruits from ministry (I guess because that's more common - sometimes you just aren't in a place where you get to see them every time), but seeing negative results can be very hard for me. It breaks me. It just makes me angry at satan for how he works and deceives and distracts. I hate the feeling of pouring yourself into something that you know is what God wants and being certain of His good plans only to find that nothing changes and people aren't helped. I've just had one of those afternoons where I've been discouraged in the ministry that I so love. That's just the reality of how I've felt. And the reality of what God has shown me is this: I must remember that weakness is OK! Being in a place where I am confused about my role or frustrated by lack of results is the very place He wants me to be, as long as I turn to Him in dependence. Laying down my desires, hopes, visions, and specific expectations is crucial. Not knowing what to do next really is ok. Not knowing when to push or when to hold back is ok. Not having anything in me that is up to the task of persevering is ok. So, here I am again, admitting that I have nothing. Nothing to give people. No back-up plan for the plans satan has thwarted. NOTHING.

And strangely, that gives me hope. Because I know God will show His power. My sad emotions are still lingering a little, and my heart will need some work to untangle myself from what God wants to do....but I know He's going to do something. So my heart is encouraged, and I wait for God to do the thing He has planned. The thing that I have no idea how to do myself or even how He'll do it.

3 comments:

Scott and Courtney Burlison said...

Hi Hannah! I was just reading through the comments on my blog and saw yours! I've been praying for God to be preparing Tyler for us including new friends, new church, schools and so on. Thanks so much for reaching out. Please email me cburlison@yahoo.com. I'd love to keep in touch.

By the way, this post is written beautifully. I'll put your struggle on my prayer list.

Marci H said...

I have been right where you are at and I can totally relate to the disappointing feelings of things not turning out as "expected". I am slowly learning to try not to "expect" anything, but to do just do what I feel God is leading me to do. The results are up to Him!

Thanks for the reminder to "let go" and "let Him".

Jennifer said...

As I wrote on my blog, Psalm 46:10 has been on my mind lately. Be still and know He is God. He's working even when you can't see it. Hang in there girl! You are awesome!