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How I’ve Learned to Delight in My Weakness

  • Christina Patterson
How I’ve Learned to Delight in My Weakness

My 3-year-old son loves a good compliment. If I ever want to get a smile out of him or boost his little confidence all I need to do is gush over how great he is at anything.

And he’s not shy about asking for a compliment.

“Look what I can do mommy!” he’ll say.

“You like this mommy?” he’ll ask.

I’ve learned, however, if I really want to make his day all I have to say is:

“Look how strong you are!”

His eyes will immediately light up as he raises his arms and puffs out his chest to show off his muscles.

Like most little boys, he wants confirmation that he is strong.

Strength is power, independence, and protection. Which is why it’s not only 3-year-old little boys that want strength. We all do.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

No One Wants to Be Weak

The strength we desire may not look like muscles, but the strength we seek may be in the form of enough money not to have to depend on others or good health not to need assistance.

So when we lack strength, it’s difficult not to become frustrated, scared, or even depressed. No one wants to be weak. People rarely find joy in weakness. Which is why the words of the Apostle Paul on the topic of strength and weakness may surprise you. 

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 12:10 ESV

Photo Courtesy: Pexels

Content Weakness

“Content weakness” may seem to be an oxymoron to us, but to Paul, it was a way of life. When most people run from weakness, Paul embraces it. Why? Because he teaches us that our weakness does not mean God’s weakness. Better yet, our weakness means more of God’s strength in our lives.

So, Paul didn’t ask for the challenges that caused his weakness, but he embraced God’s strength that developed because of it.

In this fallen world we all have weak spots, those areas in our lives that are out of our control and cause us the most frustration and angst, the situations that remind us that we all have needs that we can’t meet on our own.

We can strive for strength, but we can never avoid weakness. So like Paul, it is in our best interest to see God’s power in our weakness.

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Mehrdad Haghighi

Practicing Contentment in Weakness

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to practice this type of contentment. A few weeks ago, I had a terrible fall that rendered me weak.

I was running out the house trying to get to my daughter's bus stop on time. I slipped on a scarf that happened to be on the floor, and the next thing I remembered was waking up. I fell and hit my head on the floor and passed out for a few seconds. The upcoming weeks were filled with recovering from a mild concussion and a fractured inferior orbital floor (the bone under your eye), not to mention doctors’ visits to multiple specialists.

There I was, one second, vibrant and strong; then the next broken and weak. I needed help taking care of myself, my children, and my home. I was so blessed to have a loving and sacrificial husband and dedicated parents who came to help.

Still, this was a significant shift for me. I’m a mover, and a shaker and this fall had me out for the count. I was reminded of how weak and fragile I am and how desperately I need God every day.

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

3 Truths About Weakness

You don’t need a fall to realize your weakness. Maybe it’s a financial hardship, a struggling marriage, a lingering health concern. Challenges like this reveal we’re not always as strong as we’d like to believe.

I’m mostly recovered now, but this incident has taught me a lot about weakness. Here are three truths I’ve learned about weakness that have helped me to stay content, positive, and thankful.

Photo Courtesy: Felipe Benoit/Unsplash

1. Weakness pushes me closer to God.

When I’m able to do something in my own strength, then I don’t need to seek God. I’ll simply do what needs to be done. But when I’m weak, I’m pushed to seek a greater help. I’m ushered into the presence of my God to gain His power that is much greater than mine. We don’t need to seek out weakness; it will come with no help. But when it does, we do not have to despise it. We only need to rest in the power of our God. Paul tells us:

I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

God Understands Pain and Suffering

I can seek God in my weakness because I know He too understands pain and suffering. Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV

Weakness pushes me to draw near to the One who sent His only son to die for me, the One who can genuinely heal, restore, and redeem.

Photo Courtesy: Pexels

2. Weakness keeps me humble.

If I were impenetrable, if I could do it all, and have it all I would reason that I don’t need God. My weakness, however, is a constant and necessary reminder that I do. Knowing we need God is essential because it’s the truth. It’s easy to become prideful in money and fame and human strength. But weakness keeps us humble. Why is humility more critical than strength?

Because "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6 ESV)

God exalts the humble.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. -James 4:10 ESV

God hears the humble and offers forgiveness.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

Humility grants wisdom.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2 ESV

Photo Courtesy: Collins Lesulie/Unsplash

3. Weakness does not prevent God’s plan for my life.

God has a purpose and plan for each of us, and He’s already taken our weakness, frailties, and shortcoming into consideration. My weakness doesn’t mean I’m out of the game, it simply means God’s leading the way. As I’ve recovered from my fall this verse was strikingly meaningful to me:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock

God is Greater than Our Weakness

Yes, we are weak, but God is still greater than our weakness. Human strength makes us more independent. However, as we grow in God, the goal is not more independence but more dependence on Him. Many times this growth takes place in weakness. So I encourage you to reevaluate your view of weakness so that you too may truly see God’s power rest on you.

Photo Courtesy: Unsplash

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.