Can We Embrace Weakness?

Child of weakness watch and pray,
find in me thine all in all

The other day the beloved song with these lyrics popped up on random shuffle as I was driving in the car. I’ve heard it a thousand times. But this time it struck me, it hit my heart so hard that I restarted the song 3 times just to listen to it again and again.

Watch and pray…

Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time mindlessly scrolling social media. Maybe you have too. A common theme among the post relates to the ways we can embrace the growth we’ve seen in the past year… the ways we’re stronger.

In many ways maybe we are, in which case… this is great. We should celebrate gains in lots of areas of life.

But… if you’re like me at all, I’ve also gotten a pretty close up look at my weaknesses. I’ve seen the ways I fall short in an almost microscopic fashion. I’ve seen my lack of patience and short temper on full display. I’ve struggled with issues I thought were buried deep enough to never resurface. Sure, I’ve learned lots over the past year. But, oof. Those weaknesses sometimes just feel like they cloud out everything else.

Feel familiar?

I think thats why – after an epic fail of an evening – the words in that song just hit me full force.

I started thinking more about it: “Child of weakness, watch and pray.”

Children of Weakness

When we think about ourselves, we’re pretty quick to hide or negate the ways we fall short, as though those weaknesses don’t exist (who wants to put those out there on display? Not me).

Yet, Jesus makes it clear that our flesh is weak (at the same time he admonishes us to watch and pray) in Matthew chapter 6, verse 41, when he says: Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Even with the most willing spirits, we are bound to face temptation, and we’re told it will be hard because of our innate weakness.

And yet: we were made by our creator. We’re also told in scripture that we are God’s workmanship. Our creator made us who he wanted us to be, and yet we’re created to be dependent. Do we have strengths? Surely. But, they’re just as much a part of who we are as our shortcomings.

I’ve realized through the struggles I’ve faced this past year, that I have two choices when I acknowledge this. I can keep it to myself, stew on it, lament, or even become angry… dwelling on the problem.

OR

I can run with abandon to my father in heaven… I can watch and pray.

When I do this, I can be sure that any resolution that comes to my situation is of his doing. I can see the connections and paths that only he can create. I can be grateful for the outcomes, whether they’re what I desire or not. I can give God the credit for whatever happens as a result, instead of being tempted to believe I caused it on my own.

There’s beauty in this. The idea that we can celebrate the ways we’re weak, living out the dependence we were created for, and giving God the glory for the results.

It Also Extends Outward

This sort of looking “up” shouldn’t stop there.

While our lives are meant to glorify our creator… they’re also meant to be lived in community.

And when we’re too busy putting on a happy face, or making sure the angles are right on our photos, or celebrating our wins (again – there’s a time and place for this!), we often forget that sometimes our weakness is there to connect with others.

When we are able to let our walls down, to share our struggles, and to ask for help, really amazing things can happen. We can find strengths in others. We can be open about the “real” and the “dirty” and the “hard.” Others can also see that we’re a safe place.

I’m not sure how you feel. But, when I admit a struggle to someone else, then feel like they’ve never experienced anything even close to it, or – worse – anything hard at all, I’m more likely to go back into my shell of safety. I’m less likely to reach out the next time I need to.

But, when I can be real… those around me can as well.

I’ve seen it play out over this last year. There have been tears and hard and loss and sickness… But, there’s also been unity, deepened relationships, different conversations that go far below the surface and more.

I feel known. And, I feel like I know others on a deeper level as well. I can’t help but wonder if coming together in weakness might be a part of this outcome.

If it’s true among our friends, I think it further cements the idea that our weakness can bring us closer to our creator as well.

Are we willing to be vulnerable? Can we boast in our weaknesses? Can we watch and pray?

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