Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston with her worship-pastor husband and their four active kids (all under age 10). Her home is filled with the sounds of childhood (galloping horses, swashbuckling heroes, and the occasional sibling brawl), the near-constant presence of music in some form, and volumes of great literature, old and new. You can catch her regular reflections on faith and worship at Worship Rejoices.
I love that my son and daughter are finally old enough to fully clean the kitchen each day. It’s such a relief to know at the end of a long day, after I’ve cooked a meal, I can move on to other chores while they square away dinner dishes. I can’t underscore the grace it has become in our family.
But there is one thing that they can never seem to conquer without help. Those darned soapy, slippery sippy cups get them every time. I’ve grown used to the request and can discern it as it comes calling from the other room: “Mom. I can’t get this. Can you help me open it?”
Earlier in the day, I intentionally screwed the lid on tightly so my toddler would keep his drink in the cup and off the floors and furniture. But now the tight lid poses a problem to their small wet hands and keeps them from finishing their cleaning job. They don’t love asking me for help, but they know if they’re going to keep up the pace then they need to ask me to open the cup.
My Sink of Sin
When it comes to sanctification and actively striving for holiness, I have my own sink full of dirty dishes. Pride, fear, idolatry, and a host of other sins have left their dirt and grime on pieces of my heart and if the Holy Spirit is going to make me more like Christ, I need to be committed to the cleaning process.
Sometimes the Lord’s sanctification is gentle; a light rinse, a quick scrub, and the grit’s gone. Other times, the process is way more painful and the scrubbing and scouring scourges. I wrestle through the pain of temptation, fall headlong into painful sin, feeling the devastating pain of failure and disobedience to God. And yet, I still am not quick to run for help.
Thankful for the Lord’s salvation, I rest knowing one day I will be united with God forever. I know I am mercifully forgiven and made righteous in eternity thanks to Christ’s saving work on the cross and I am thankful my sin won’t win in the end, but I can’t seem to ask Him for anything today.
My Sippy-Cup Strength
It’s in these times I should be as wise as my children, quickly asking for help. Instead, I fail to confess weakness. Frankly, I’d rather eliminate my sin patterns on my own without involving God at all. I decide simply tryinging harder, praying more, or by being more self-controlled would be easier. Not surprisingly, this never works out for me. Inevitably, I grow weary from the striving and toss in the towel.
My battle against sin is hard, painful, and monotonous. But to God, it’s a sippy-cup; easily dealt with, problem solved. Just because it seems hard to ask God for help, doesn’t mean it’s hard for God to answer and give me power to overcome temptation and sin. Jesus was tempted with every sin so he could intercede on my behalf. Jesus understands my struggles. But even Jesus didn’t do things alone. He asked His Father for help. God wants us to ask for help too. He want’s us to acknowledge our weakness. He wants my weakness to be His strength and His glory.
The Glory of Weariness
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40:28-29
God uses my weakness as grace, constantly pointing me in my neediness, to Christ. Knowing my own insufficiency, underscores His sufficiency. And when I am weak, Christ revives me and increases my strength – when I stop trying to renew my own strength and instead wait on Him to do it for me.
Christ receives glory from our neediness and dependence. When I deny my need for His supernatural strengthening, I deny Him glory.
Today, I pray I would see my own weakness as an opportunity for God’s glory before I see it as an opportunity for despair, shame, and guilt. I can’t do all things in my own strength, I’m not supposed to. But I can run quickly to my Father who can do all things well.
In your struggles and your weakness, run to the source of your strength. Bring your sippy-cup struggles to your father whohas the strength you need. Confess your insufficiency. Trust His power. He loves you and His desire is to conform you into the image of His son. He will be faithful to hear you, answer you, and give you all the strength you need.
“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” Psalm 147:10-11