I’m sitting in the middle of a wooden pew surrounded by happy chatter.
Laughter turns to whispers as the worship leader stands up and reads off a few announcements. Church fellowship dinners, Bible studies, prayer for families who are hurting. I’m skimming the order of worship to see what’s ahead when he catches my attention.
I want to share something with you. When my family and I first moved here we sat back there… He motions towards the back of the Sanctuary. ….I knew I was needy, but it turned out that I was a lot needier than I thought. He looks up.
“Are you needy?”
It’s quiet, but my heart is crying out: yes!
Recently a friend told me that she noticed that a change in my attitude. It’s like you feel like you have to prove yourself, she told me. But you don’t. I like you when you act like yourself.
I knew I had been struggling with insecurities, but I didn’t realize how it had manifested itself in my behavior. The internal pressure to be 110% amazing was starting to hurt.
The worship leader didn’t leave us hanging with his question. He opened the Bible and exposed God’s word of truth to our hearts: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I know it by heart, that verse from II Corinthians. But it’s funny how those verses are the ones you take for granted or don’t ever process. My “I’m a successful college graduate and have it together and I don’t need your help” attitude? It’s not sufficient. Actually, it’s pretty empty.
Sitting there, my heart overflows as I mull over that verse in my mind. My grace is sufficient for you. I don’t have to act like I have it together. I don’t have to be the best employee, or amaze people every day. Even better is the second part of that verse that explains why God’s grace is sufficient: my power is made perfect in weakness.
If I were perfect. If I had it all together. If I had the pinterest-perfect life and if I were the most successful thing to ever move to Lancaster, there would be no room for Christ in my life. So WHY am I wasting time trying to achieve that?
In my weaknesses, Christ is able to intervene, build me up, give me the grace to continue. When I fall short, His power makes up for what I lack.
I scribble the rest of the verse on the front of my bulletin. “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest in me.”
Well, that’s it. If the Apostle Paul can be real with his audience about his weaknesses, I feel pretty free to be open about my shortcomings. It’s only when we admit our weaknesses that the Holy Spirit can work in us. It’s only then that we can form real Christian communities of believers who build each other up. Communities that don’t put up walls and pretend they are immune to struggles. Or worse, “shh” each other when one ventures to admit doubts, failures, or serious struggle. Cover it up, and you leave no room for God to work.
I’ve been thinking about this all day. I’m thankful for my best friends who I can be real with. I’m thankful for a boyfriend who loves even in the ugly. I’m thankful for new friends in Lancaster – the ones who ask the hard questions and confront the difficult. I’m thankful for the reminders to be real and to “boast in my weaknesses”.