Human weakness. God’s strength. The whole idea that God uses our weaknesses for His glory, that it’s in my weakness that His strength shows up, well, it’s a concept that has confounded me for a long time. Intellectually, I get it. But, just like working with people, I’m much better at conceptualization than implemention.
But every once in a while, I glean a little more understanding, a little more clarity on the matter. Today, my daily devotional said, “I have chosen you less for your strengths than your weaknesses, which amplify your need for Me.*”
That’s probably good, because my weaknesses are many.
The trick is that only when I lay down my weakness can God’s full glory be revealed. If I’m trying to hold on to my weakness, either through denial, deceit, or desperation, it’s only my shortcomings that shine in the spotlight.
But if I release my faults — not in a way that takes no responsibility but instead says, “Okay, God, this is where I am totally lacking, and I need You to show up,” well, suddenly a radical change happens. It may not seem radical at the time, because often it’s a process, and a painful one at that. But it happens just the same, and soon you look back and say, “Wow. Look what God did there.”
But we are not the point.
If we’re going to be real here, it isn’t all about us. What God is doing in your life is not about you. And what He’s doing in my life is not about me.
What God is doing in our lives is really about what God is doing in the world. And this, my friends, brings us to the crux of the matter.
The part of my daily devotional that I wasn’t going to include in this post, but is, I’m discovering as I write, the actual point of the post, said: “I want you to blaze a trail for others who desire to live in My peaceful Presence.” After I read that, I randomly decided to read the book of Matthew, and the scripture that stuck out at me like a lit up lightbulb at night:
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up to God, this generous Father in heaven. 5:14-16 MSG
Here’s where you get to witness God-work in real-time. I mean, seriously. I’m a little blown away right now, because right now, as I’m writing this, God is answering prayer.
You see, this morning I felt like God was really telling me to write. And I knew the minute I opened my eyes that it was going to be pure discipline. I. had. nothing. to. say.
This has always been my biggest stumbling block when it comes to writing — any time I try to make a discipline of it, my inspiration hits the highway and I am left with a wordless black hole, a vaccum-void that sucks any energy and creativity I have into oblivion.
When I’m not thinking about it, the words come and when they do — it’s a vengeance. Soon, maybe, my husband will start to recognize the signs like he recognizes my PMS — I am grumpy and over-focused until the words are out. I often write for days in my head before they spill out throught my finger tips, to the keyboard, onto the screen. Many times my stuff is written in my head before I even begin to type, and in the typing I get the incredible joy of seeing what God has done in my brain when I read it back. I find connections I didn’t know were there and abstracts that tie neatly into little bows. It’s really cool when that happens.
So many people tell me that I should “write” and my answer is always the same: “What do I have to say that’s so important and who would want to read it?” But I’m starting to think that this writing thing is part of the destiny God has for me, to be used for His glory, to shine. And I’ve begun to pray about it, to ask God to reveal if this is what He wants me to do, and if so, to bring me the platform, to focus my work, to take this writing as an offering to Him and turn it loose for His glory.
But this morning, the black void hovered over God’s beckoning to write. I read my devotional, read my Bible, then considered cleaning the cat tray in a lame attempt at creative avoidance.
Finally, I started to just write. In weakness. In emptiness, I began typing out of pure discipline, asking God to give me words, to bring me an audience if that is His will. To show up in my weakness.
And now, as I stopped in the middle to look back at what I’d done so far — I see an answer to prayer. He’s telling me not just to do the work, but He promised a lightstand! And He’s telling me to SHINE!
He’s also telling me to live generously with people, to be open to people so they will be open to God. Ugh. You have no idea how much of a weakness THAT is for me. But that’s a whole other blog post.
So where does that leave me? Well, today, I have received God’s encouragement — He’s not going to hide me under a bucket. Today, He has taught me a lesson on the whole strength/weakness thing. And He has also given me a directive — to use my skills and my talents to shine! Shine for all the world to see, even if the whole world is just the two of you who read this blog (and one of you is probably my mother).