It has taken me almost a lifetime to value weakness; to learn the strength of leaning and the freedom in surrender.
(I’m not comfortable with leaning but not for the obvious reasons.)
I have been accused of the sin of pride and in some cases it was true. (Don’t we all sometimes struggle with pride?) But God has shown me that it was not because of pride that I despised my weaknesses.
It was fear.
I have done hand-to-hand combat with feelings of fear and worthlessness all of my life. (Confess your sins to one another that you might be healed, right?) Craven-Fear, just like in the story Hinds Feet On High Places, has dogged my steps from my earliest days.
As far back as I can go—fear has haunted my steps.
Even today, this leaning is sometimes difficult.
Let me explain.
My father did most of my parenting. He was a strong guy; a stoic personality rarely showing weakness to anyone. If his powerful reserve did slip, even for a moment, there would be embarassment and obvious shame. Since I adored my father as a child, I got the lasting message that weakness was shameful. Each time I saw his attempts to suppress his own weakness, I learned by his example.
Let me add here, I don’t think he did this conciously or purposely, but it is a strange paradox, that this was his weakness—fearing his own vulnerability.
It isn’t considered STRONG is it?
(If only men realized how much most women value vulnerability… but that’s a post for another day.)
I don’t believe we esteem transparency and vulnerability as much as we admire strong and brave.
I certainly didn’t, and because I didn’t, it has taken God a good part of my journey with Him to “unlearn” all my early lessons for the stoic—to teach me the value of my own weakness, rather than being ashamed of it, or embarrassed by it.
As a child, I wanted to be “strong” like my dad.
I thought that meant always being in control of myself and never letting things show. I tried to keep any sign of weakness carefully hidden. I so longed to make my dad proud of me; to see me… and value me.
In earlier days, when my own pictures of “strong” ruled my heart, any betrayal of weakness was met with either fear, or shame.
Perhaps that is precisely why God has bestowed the “gift of tears” on me. (I wonder?) I am a major softie! I easily cry at the most inopportune moments, and to this day, my tears totally embarrass me.
(Uh-oh, weakness showing!)
Unfortunately, the harder I try to “stuff them” the more they flow. Very frustrating! Thank goodness God is finally pounding it into my thick skull how much He values a tender heart.
Now, instead of seeing my weakness and vulnerability as flaws, I try to see them as a surrender to SOFTER things; to a gentle tenderness.
(And, I call it GOOD!)
It took a long time to get here, but many miles of rocky road later, I now try to see my vulnerability through God’s eyes. My weakness is just another opportunity to lean on His STRONG.
(And that is so good!)
Remember when you were struggling so?
Think back—remember the way your weakness made you so dependent? How you hated that feeling of helplessness.
Some say it is pride that makes you hate your weakness (and sometimes it is) but that is not the real reason you despise your weaknesses. (Shall I tell you?) It is your fear, with roots that reach down deep into your childhood.
You grew up alone. Rarely did anyone help you with the things that really mattered. Oh, your house was full of people, but they were all coming and going, trying to keep up with their own fears. Most of your childhood was spent trying to parent yourself and so you grew more timid and frightened with each childish failure. You were so little. The world so big.
Shall I tell you?
I wept many times at the way you were abandoned and ignored.
How painful it was to watch you struggle, first with fear, then with anger over your failures and insecurities. No wonder you grew up intolerant of your weaknesses! Remember how you tried to hide them as a child? You thought if you could only be perfect, someone might notice you, might love you.
Oh, SweetHeart, I know. I saw. It’s okay to weep over those sad times. They truly were difficult days, but you are grown now—you know Me. We are one, you and I. It’s okay now to let go and just be yourself weaknesses and all. Lean on Me. From this day on, I’ll be The Strong One.
“He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.”