Paul writes about weakness and struggles in 2 Corinthians 12. “His grace,” Paul says, is “sufficient” and has the incredible power of covering us, even in our weakened state.
His words in this passage have a haunting effect. What does it mean, really, to let God rule over our lives in such a way that even our weaknesses are covered?
Whenever the topic of weaknesses and struggles and setbacks come up, I can’t help but think of a job interview. Somewhere, at some point in time, the universe decided the question every organization hiring should ask is to list your strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve always felt a little like Michael Scott from The Office in these situations. I explain my strengths and then paint my weaknesses as just extensions of my strengths.
“Oh, you want to know about my weaknesses? Well, I work too hard, care too much, and I’m too invested in my job. I guess you could say my weaknesses are my strengths.”
I say this in jest, but there is a very real part of us that tends to lean this way when it comes to our weaknesses.
We’ve been influenced by culture, and simply by being a human, believing we need to cover up the parts of us that are not neat and perfect.
Therefore, we make excuses or hide our weaknesses, masking them as something else.
I’ve always found it odd that Paul who is like our faith’s GOAT (greatest of all time) admitted his weaknesses so openly and assured the church in Corinth–and us–that this is okay.
God can use us even in our weakened state. In fact, there is a strength actually found in admitting our own “thorns in the flesh” because when we do this, we are not relying on our own ability, but trusting in God’s power in our lives.
That’s usually the reaction I have when trying to understand just what exactly Paul was getting after here.
Is he saying…
Weakness is okay.
Weakness is actually a strength.
You don’t have to pretend to be perfect.
God can use you just as you are.
But there’s a problem with this. No on wants to be known for a weakness. We’d much rather prefer to be known for what we’re good at.
Interestingly, though, when we can live with our weaknesses and setbacks, it opens up our lives to being a story that is good and strong and moving.
How many people have used their pain, their hurt, and their struggle to catapult them forward? When we own our weakness, when we admit freely and honestly that we are not perfect, this allows God to move in us and heal us.
Who knows? Our struggle might be someone’s saving grace. Because when we open up and share from that part of us, we allow God to move and heal and change and maybe that is just what we needed, but also what someone else needs as well.
If Paul were around, I imagine he’d tell us to put our guards down a bit. He’d tell us to open up and share.
Perhaps he’d talk to us about the thorn in his flesh and the pain he went through during his life. And then I bet he’d tell us to be open and ready to share.
Because who knows? We might find at the end of the day that when we can own who we are (all the parts of us), that is how we can change.
Jesus is in the business of changing our lives. Perhaps we need to open up about who we are really to see that happen.
I’m learning more about this. I don’t want to be ashamed of my weaknesses or cover them up or hide them. Rather, I want to lead from them, allowing them to be an example of God’s faithfulness.
We have a choice, don’t we?
We can boldly and bravely say, “This is me. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And God knows it. And He loves me all the same.”
There is power in admitting we are not perfect. There is strength in surrendering to the one who is perfect. And there is freedom that comes when we stop trying to be strong all the time.
Weakness is okay.
In fact, weak is the new strong.
So, flex your weakness.
Because when you do, you’re getting reps on living in God’s incredible strength. And that is a beautiful way to exist–a path of honesty, vulnerability, and real change.