…For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
I stayed with my sister in Florida the summer after I graduated from high school. It was a great summer with many life lessons along the way. Among the greatest lessons I learned was the limits of my own abilities. I have always struggled with an ongoing dichotomy in my soul. At one extreme there are days when I think I can do anything. And then there are the days I don’t think I’m good enough to accomplish a single thing. The fact is that each of these attitudes are simply opposite sides of the same coin, self-worth.
That summer I was given the opportunity to paint the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom of a church member’s home. I would be leaving Florida in a week and thought I had plenty of time to complete the task. The pay was attractive and I had painted for my brother-in-law back in Indiana the past two summers. So this would be easy. After four days on the job and not even close to being half done, I discovered that painting was far more complicated that I had realized. It was one thing to focus on a single task for the day as one following instructions, but quite another thing to be responsible for every aspect of the job. That is when my sister came to my rescue and helped me complete the job within the next two days.
There are times when I think I can lead a church, make life decisions, and overcome any temptation without God’s help. The real problem is that I can do quite a bit without His help. We all can. But then along comes the bumps in the road. Every road has them. These bumps include the projects I can’t quite complete, the temptations I can’t quite overcome, and the life decisions I can’t quite get a handle on. Not only do the bumps inevitably come, but they come at the most inopportune times. They come four days into a project with no hope of completing it. They come right after I thought victory was a done deal. They come immediately after I was certain I had all the answers.
The apostle Paul learned to embrace the bumps in his road once he learned to embrace his weaknesses. Once he recognized his weakness as an opportunity to experience God’s grace, goodness, and strength, his self worth actually grew. And so it can be with us. The more clearly we identify our own weaknesses, the greater the blessings we will be prepared to receive from God. I have learned in leadership that general ideas never lead to specific actions. And so the more specifically I understand my own weaknesses, the more specific are the blessings and power God is yearning to bestow upon me.
The strength I receive from God is in proportion to the weakness I recognize in myself. It is in this context I believe Paul could say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I am spending time today identifying my weaknesses as I submit my life once again to the power and strength to Him who can do more than I could ever ask or think. The road to strength comes in the bumps of recognizing my own weaknesses. Do you know your weaknesses?