Tag Archives: weakness

A Closer Walk: Fear & The Broken-Hearted-Vessel

Nothing can send hailstorms of ice cold fear rampaging across the landscape of my soul like being asked to speak in public!

(Yep, that’s my thing.)

Think of that thing you hate doing more than anything else. Now multiply it times ten and you have an approximate idea of how I feel about public speaking.

It’s my absolute worst thing.

If the choice is speaking in public or hot coals… bring on the coals!

I once signed up for a speech class in junior college thinking I would conquer this fear.

I lasted one day—one.

All I had to do was get up in front of the class and give my name and a little information about myself. (You’d have thought it was the Gettysburg Address the way I was shaking and quaking on the inside!)

When I was on staff with a large church, I wiggled and squirmed for months, trying to get out of the first time I had to do my own program presentation in front of the whole church.

A Single Dream I can still see myself, standing in that darkened doorway stage right, waiting to walk out into those bright floodlights. I was so terrified, every single “prepared” word evaporated from my brain. I remember sending up this panicky prayer that went something like, “God, please! If you don’t put some words in my mouth right now, this is going to get real ugly, real quick!”

To this day, I have no idea what I said. All I know is that later in one of the back rooms of the church, people kept coming up to me, thanking me profusely for all my wonderful encouragement. I stood there smiling politely, repeating over and over in my heart, “Thank you God. Oh, thank you God. It was only You.”

And so now you’re probably thinking, “And God called you to be a WRITER? Really?”

Yep, isn’t it hilarious?

(I think so too, since the idea of public speaking still turns my legs to spongy gelatin, and my mouth to dust.)

Why does God do this?

It’s completely crazy, but He always has, and still does.

Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Gideon, David… just to name a few. (All men after my own heart.) People with huge flaws and failures, but all God-called and God-commissioned. Men God used mightily in spite of their brokenness and weakness—if not because of it.

This is not the way the world does it.

Nope. No way. No how.

The world goes for the strong and outwardly shiny, while God chooses broken men—the storm-driven weak ones.

He seems to specialize, in frail human beings with a myriad of flaws and failings—just like us.

A Closer Walk

THE MOST!

Storms make muscle.

(It’s as simple as that.)

I want you strong! I want you confident!

How will you become strong and confident if you never go through storms?

You know Me by now, you know, nothing, nothing, touches you by chance. (Not My child!) But, because you are My child, I decide what is best for your training and development.

This part, the suffering, is for training; deepening your character. Before you can dress another’s wounds, you must feel the knife yourself. (You know this.) You cannot touch, you cannot heal broken hearts, with a heart that’s never been broken! Too, many of My children have tried, and failed.

I AM weary of these would-be-healers.

Away, with physicians of no use!

Come, let us be reasonable.

I AM building in you, compassion, understanding and caring.

(You know I AM.)

You also know by now, that these precious qualities are only purchased at great cost.

Why are they so rare?

(You know why.)

Because suffering, especially unjust suffering, is hard to bear.

Fear & Broken HeartedBut dearest, did I not tell you that the greater your suffering, the greater your reward?

Honey, it is the broken-hearted-vessel that holds the most!

These are not just clever words to soothe your pain.

This is the stuff—the place—where true healing begins.

a closer walk

 

“…for he will never fail you.”

1 Peter 4:191 Peter 4:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

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A Closer Walk: Beauty In The Brokenness

We all have something, don’t we? Some fear, or flaw, or brokenness; some insecurity or sense of inferiority that we desperately want to overcome.

(Whether we admit it or not, we all do.)

Sometimes it’s a glaring and obvious failure; something that we believe everyone can see. Sometimes it’s our blind spot; something everyone, but us, can see. And sometimes it is a hidden something, we struggle with all alone, stumbling, falling, getting up again, hoping to conquer it, yet continually falling short of our goal.

We are all of us only human after all, and our weaknesses are ever present, daily reminding us of that fact.

Being weak is rarely admired in our society. We admire the strong. The brave. The people who are considered conquerors. Victorious overcomers. The winners. People who habitually “look and act” successful, and are always, always, admired by the crowd. And let’s face it, we admire them, too.

Yet every “winner” has that something… just ask them (in a transparent moment) they will confess to struggling, too.

We’re all flawed.

Doubt it for even a moment and your weakness will usually pop up somewhere, somehow, to remind you (and everyone else) that you are so much less than what the world admires the most.

the weak things

So why is it, “the strong” that the world lifts up, God looks down on?

The Bible says, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” 1 Corinthians 1:271 Corinthians 1:27
English: World English Bible - WEB

27 but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;

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Why do we tend to think of brokenness as bad?

It has taken me almost a lifetime to come around to God’s way of thinking about weakness. He seems to specialize in choosing the people we would never think of. And then, to make His point, He sends them off on some monumentally heroic or difficult assignment.

Almost without fail God picks the last guy we would pick.

(Someone like me… or you!)

God just loves showing off through the weak and helpless people of this world.

Beauty shines through

Don’t be surprised if God puts His finger right on that “something” you have, that ONE THING that makes you cringe in fear, or embarrassment, or frustration… that weakness or brokenness that you long to keep hidden, to conquer… yet always seems to be conquering you.

Yeah, don’t be surprised if THAT THING, is “the thing” that He calls you to do.

Someday when you least expect it you may hear God whisper, “Right here, in your greatest weakness and brokenness… this, is where you will serve Me and honor Me the most.”

A Closer Walk

“I CAN’T!”

My child…

I know how difficult and crazy your life has become. You are to press through these difficulties until you get to the heart of the matter.

There will I be.

I AM always with you Sweet Heart no matter what the problem. But you will not discover My presence in your outer stress.

No, My place is in the center of your storm. That is the place of peace. That is were you will find Me and My strength to go on.

You can do this thing you keep saying, “I can’t!” to.

(Press in. I’m there.)

It is your fear that immobilizes—your anger that paralyzes!

Your peace is not in the absence of conflict—it is in Me.

(You know this.)

Arise, My BelovedCome, I AM all you need.

I will bring you through.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do.

Focus on Me.

Did I not create you?

Who knows better than I? Your strengths, your gifts… even your weaknesses are from Me.

(Ah, you thought you were the source?)

I AM a God of balance.

I create the light and the dark.

Your weaknesses gift you.

Beauty in the broken

(Now that one surprised you!)

It’s true!

Listen, I’ll ask you again, “Where does true power come from?”

(… of course.)

And would you come to Me if you were nothing but “strength and gift”?

(We both know that independent streak you have.)

So… the storm and difficulty are for revealing you to you.

And as you see yourself, as you really are, you run to Me!

(I like that.)

a closer walk

“…keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you…”

1 Peter 4:191 Peter 4:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

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A Closer Walk: Closet Control Freak

closet control freakI always believed, “I am NOT a closet control freak—I am a person of order.” A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s my motto. Chaos of mind or situation is NOT my thing. I have been accused many times of being a control freak, and to some of that I plead guilty, but guilty with good reason.

(She said smiling.)

I grew up in chaos, so I learned early in life, that if I was going to have any sense of peace or order I would have to create it myself.

my messy life

I have tried to come to some sort of truce with myself about all of this; to “give myself a break” because a child does the best they can with what life hands them, and sometimes—the coping mechanisims that were our friends in childhood—become our enemies in adulthood.

Ah, but giving them up… there’s the rub!

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with an orderly life. There’s actually a scripture that calls for us to live that way.

Again, the difficulty is that many times chaos in life is not the exception, it is the norm. Life, especially in our day and times, is full of unexpected catastrophes of endless variety. Control is only a cherished illusion. Much as I hate it, it is a truth that must be faced with honesty—but also with faith and hope.

Yeah, life goes crazy on us, but though we must acknowledge that we are not in control of anything, we can still place our faith and hope in a God who is in control of everything.

faith NOT fear(Selah?)

So, if God is in total control, then why did He allow my disaster to happen you might ask?

And to that, I give you one key word: AGENDA.

We have an agenda for our lives, but God has His, and when our agenda collides with His, well guess who wins every, single, time?

God is in control

I like what John Koessler said about agendas,

Jesus is an equal opportunity disappointer. Jesus was a disappointment, not only for people like those of Nazareth, where they drove Him out of the synagogue and tried to throw Him off a cliff, because He wouldn’t perform miracles for them, but for people in Korazin and Bethsaida, where He did perform miracles. Jesus was a disappointment to friends and foes alike… we are disappointed with Jesus because we do not see what He is really doing. It turns out that we have been laboring under a major misapprehension. Jesus came for us, but that does not mean He came to please us. Jesus came for us, but He does not answer to us. Jesus came for us, but He will not subject Himself to our agenda, no matter how good that agenda might be. Instead, Jesus demands that we submit ourselves to His agenda.   (Why Jesus Always Disappoints)

When I talk to others (like myself) who are struggling with disillusionment and disappointment with God, there is this reoccurring issue; this matter of control—God’s agenda vs. ours.

Oh, we don’t come right out and say that we think we know better than an Omniscient God. But scratch the surface of our best Christian facade, and you will find a closet control freak, fighting to get out.

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IT’S NOT MAN’S WAY

I know how much you hate it ~ being weak.

You want to conquer this thing you’re struggling with.

You want to be in control again, yes?

God in control

No… but “No.” with an explanation.

Listen My dear child, if strength were the best thing for you right now, would I not give it? You know I always do the best thing for your growth and perfection. (But, My definition of perfection, not yours.)

You want to be perfect—I want to: perfect.

(It’s not what you wanted Me to say.)

I know.

But you know Love does the best thing, not necessarily the easiest thing.

God in our ruins

(Yes, you’re right.)

It would be easy to give you this thing you’ve requested.

But, do you want the dream your way?

Do you know what the cost would be, to yourself, to others?

Do you want this dream to be less than it could be?

These are questions only you can answer. To be perfected from suffering you must yield to it ~ not clench your fists and stiffen your neck. You decide if you want everything you have asked Me for.

God's mission: partnership

I’ll wait right here, as I have been, since this tug-of-war started between us.

You must decide, whether you are to be powerful, or I AM to be powerful in you.

This is the way My Kingdom works.

It’s not man’s way, it’s Mine, Decide.”

a closer walk

 

“…No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.”

2 Corinthians 12:92 Corinthians 12:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

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My Grace

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Always bring your wings under My Grace.

My wings are Omnipotent.

There is no difficulty you face that I will not have an answer for.

Think of your little wings this way:

One is peace, the other is prayer.

You bring Me your prayers—I give you My peace. And, praise arises from the two. Whenever your peace disappears, come to Me in prayer. We will work it out together.

I AM your refuge—Your safe haven.

When you don’t know what to do, come to Me.

Quiet the storm on the inside first. As you do, you will ask and I will give you all the wisdom and favor you need to deal with your outer storm.

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For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast.

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A CLOSER WALK: Weakness As My Strength

It has taken me a long time to learn what great power there is in weakness. For most of my life I was like the world I grew up in. I was not a fan of weakness or vulnerability.

shy thinker type

Weakness and extreme shyness were not admired traits in my home. As I said before, I grew up in a house-full of boisterous and outgoing people of sanguine temperament.

For those of you who are not up on the lingo of temperament analysis, Sanguines are “the life of the party” types.

Those fun-loving non-serious and bold types.

I, on the other hand was the very serious contemplative type.

Yeah, born a misfit (I believed) as an out-of-place, “What’s WRONG with you?” solitude-loving, thinker-type.

life of the party type

Put me in a room full of strangers and watch me melt into the wallpaper, tongue-tied, and looking for the nearest exit!

Hardly “life-of-the-party” material!

So, naturally I longed, no maybe that’s not quite right—I LONGED to be more outgoing.

Why is it God often will “call us” to that VERY THING we are convinced we CANNOT do?

(I think there’s something a little mischievous about that!)

Yet, in my own ordeals with my personal weaknesses, that is the very place God wants to use me—right in the spot I feel most helpless.

Here’s what God had to teach me.

He does not want us “out there strutting our stuff” where we feel all capable, and ready to take on the world.

In my own case it’s in those areas where I feel strongest that He will pull back hardest on the reins.

And, where I feel the weakest?

He cheers for me with gusto and abandon!

Actually our so called “strengths” are our weaknesses, and visa-versa our weaknesses, are our greatest strengths from a Kingdom point of view.

The Apostle Paul knew all about this upside down way things work. In 2 Corinthians 12 he tells us, “Three different times I begged God…” He had a weakness he desperately wanted to be rid of. God’s response to his prayers? “Each time He said, ‘No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” [vs. 8, 9 TLB]

From God’s point of view our weakness is the place where He can shine. I don’t like it. (You probably don’t like it either.) But that’s the deal. Where I am weak? God’s power is perfected in me.

Where your hands shake, your voice quakes, and your knees wobble?

Yep, that’s the spot, where you will cling to Him for all you’re worth!

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YOU ARE READY

All eyes will be upon you now.
(Don’t be frightened.)
You are ready.
Your whole life has been in preparation for the door you are about to enter. Keep your eyes… (Oh, those beautiful eyes!) Keep them on Me. You know I have called you. Your suffering has made your calling sure. If you ever doubt it, you have only to look in the mirror. It is there, staring back at you. Your greatest weakness will become your greatest strength!
The world hates brokenness. It hates weakness. This you know quite well. But, now you see, when brokenness and weakness link up with Me, and My Spirit, power is the result!
My power. (Mightier than split atoms!) is perfected in weakness. This you have been learning. This you now know!
There will be many who will say I have not called you. (Forget them.) Look in the mirror. Remember, mighty are you in My Kingdom child. Angels will be at your beck and call. I AM in you. You are in Me. Vine and branch; potence and Omnipotence!
I will be at your side. I have have gone ahead of you, into your future to secure it, and I have your back. You are My child. No one can take you from My hand! Be strong. Be of a good courage. You can change the world.
You are going to change the world.
You are My beloved child.
Nothing, and no one, can ever change that!

“I the Lord have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.” Isaiah 42:6Isaiah 42:6
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 I, Yahweh, have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

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