Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weakness, Part Two

NOTE: I'm back to the land of the living. Sort of. Just coughing incessantly, but I'm up and moving around FINALLY after one really long week of the flu. But unfortunately, Jonah woke up this morning burning hot with fever. So it looks like all of our attempts at shielding him from my germs turned out to be not so successful. Hopefully, he's not in for what I had. It was BAD. I feel so sorry for him. Just trying to control his fever until tomorrow morning when I can take him to the doctor. I had started a post last Sunday and at this point, I don't really remember how I was going to finish it. But I decided to go ahead and post it below. I quickly tried to do some date editing so it would make more sense, but sorry if I missed anything. Oh, and thanks to everyone for the sweet comments, calls, emails, text messages, offers to help, etc. You've been so kind.

Guess what. Evidently, God has more for me to learn about the concept of weakness. Oh joy. No, really, it's been clear that He doesn't want me to just rush through it. He's not done with me in this area. Not even close. Our Sunday morning Bible study class we've been a part of in recent months has been studying the book of Colossians, and last Sunday we spent a considerable amount of time discussing weakness, particularly pertaining to the suffering Paul was experiencing (he was in prison at the time he was writing his encouragement to the Colossians) and the struggles his burden for them brought about. Hello! The focus on that was obviously very timely for me, as God emphasized to me, once again, how essential the attitude of humility. It hit me right where I am, convicting me once more of the necessity of personal weakness in my own life for God's glory to be showcased. We specifically looked at this part of Colossians chapter one and also looked here to remember the kind of suffering Paul was experiencing when he talked about embracing weakness in order to experience God's energy working through him. And it struck me that I need to remember to make the distinction between suffering and weakness. They often seem to come packaged together, but they are not necessarily the same thing. The kind of weakness I'm talking about is an acknowledged experience of selflessness...self-LOWness, if you will. It's a position of humility, recognizing that in and of myself, I have nothing to bring to the table, in terms of what God can work with. It's a choice to attach myself to HIS adequacy. Christa described it in class that those times of weakness are when she gets completely out of the way so that God can fully do what He has planned. Exactly! I'm being reminded over and over again that it's absolute necessary in living the Spirit-filled life. We cannot abide in Him and His power if we are relying on ourselves in any way. In ANY way. I sat there, looking at God's words and mulling over this truth when it hit me. The real conviction. I say that weakness is essential, but I try to avoid it at all costs. I want to resist it. And I certainly don't go looking for it. But if I really believe what the Bible says is true about it, shouldn't I be pursuing weakness? I'm not talking about pursuing suffering and hardship and difficult circumstances. Though they often accompany lessons-in-weakness, they don't always have to. I'm talking about pursuing that heart-position of weakness. Making an intentional effort to become less. I must confess, my heart is convicted. And I have a new personal challenge straight from God's heart: I want to wake up every day and choose to empty myself of me. And I know this: Only you, God, can create that in me. On my own, I don't have the teeniest bit of desire to motivate me on that journey.

And all this reminds me of something else....

It's it funny how God often speaks to us about the same issue from a variety of sources all round the same time? There are times when everywhere we turn, we're hit by the same message. Strange! It's almost like....(gasp!) someone planned it that way! Like we were meant to receive that message!

Sometimes I think God has to be laughing at me.I wonder what He really thinks when I get surprised by things like that. I imagine His response to those kinds of realizations...thinking, "Oh, Hannah...why are you surprised when I do things like that? If I tell you where to position yourself, don't you think I have a purpose in mind?!!"

It's just so funny how slow I am to get that sometimes. His instruction about learning is so clear...He emphasizes the importance of pursuing wisdom, searching for Truth, and being participants in the local "body" of Christ to which we belong. Yet, I am surprised by the recognition of how He orchestrates the messages given me when I place myself in the positions He's called me to. When I'm sitting under the teaching He has reserved for me in my church, OF COURSE I am going to hear personally-tailored messages from God. It's going to get very real and very personal between me and Him. When I make myself available to the teachings and experiences offered to me via the spiritual "authorities" in my life, I can't miss the fact that God has specific things to show me....things that correspond with the other things He's showing me! I know these realizations of orchestrated messages delight the heart, but I'm tired of realizing this over and over like it's something new, something that surprises me. I want it to just be a normal way of life for me. Something I just come to expect from Him. A certainty that He always
shows up where He tells me to be to find Him and that He always has something new to do in my heart. I really want to learn this and stop forgetting. It's crazy how many things like this He's done lately, weaving together various experiences to make one big point to me. And I know He wants this for me more of the time, so HE can direct my growth and I'm not depending solely on what I want to learn from Him. It's true we can selectively grow, isn't it? Well, I'm thinking I've been wrong about that all along. He wants to lead me and bring my attention to what He wants me to see and deal with, not just what's more convenient for me to address at the time. That's real growth. That's when it gets so personal and intimate with Him. A close dance. One where He leads and I follow. He just tells me where to be and then I just follow. Oh, why don't I follow His lead more?


Christa said...

I love those moments, times when He bombards me with His truth. Like He is saying, I know you frequently miss things or forget so let me cement this one in your head! I will make sure you hear me and you know who is speaking. Even when the message isn't one I want to loved I feel to know how much He desires for me to hear Him and how much He loves me to go to all that trouble. I pray you see the depths of His love in your struggle with weakness.

Marci H said...

Beautifully written Hannah!! Boy have I been learning about becoming less lately. With each child, I have become less. Moving into ministry, I have become less. Sometimes I wonder where I am anymore. But it is ok with me- - -the less I am, the more HE IS!!