Facing the Truth.

This past year, the Holy Spirit has continued to bring to my attention specific concepts that my heart has needed to hear. I'm thankful that God speaks to us in such a custom-fit way, and that in speaking to us, He wants to allow us to encounter the truth and allow it to change the way we live. Most recently, I have been learning about truth (John 8:32) and God's strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I never really connected these two concepts together, but today God molded them together for me to understand how they relate to each other.

I've never been one to like criticism. I try to hide from it as best as I can. I will do whatever it takes to maintain an equilibrium of peace and quiet. However, there are moments when criticism is healthy--especially in self-reflection. If we aren't aware of the areas we need to reassess, then we will never be aware of how we can grow.

The world encourages us to hide our weaknesses, burying them so far deep that nobody can glimpse the full reality of who we are. In concealing our weaknesses from others, we can live as if we are self-sufficient--not allowing others to invest into us, and not allowing ourselves to reach out to others. Even the thought of sharing our weaknesses could make us feel traces of humiliation because we haven't even reconciled with the fact that we aren't perfect.

In my life, I have tried to remedy my imperfections by ignoring my weaknesses and capitalizing on my strengths. Sometimes I have focused so much energy on my strengths that I figured my weaknesses would just disappear. Yet, I realized that simply distracting myself from my weaknesses wouldn't help me to fix those areas. I needed to confront my fears and my worries. At first, I felt discouraged in admitting my weaknesses. It hurt my pride. WHY was I less than perfect when I was trying the best I could? My best was never good enough, and even when I thought I was succeeding in controlling my fears and worries, they would soon resurface. I would feel such personal failure.

Yet, encountering the truth was destined to set me free. Free from my self-enforced rigidity. Free from my skewed idea of grace. Free from my insistence to rely upon my own strength alone.

While the world tells us to hide our weaknesses, God tells us to pleasure in our weaknesses. What a contrast. When I began to realize that I needed to share with God ALL of me, I exclaimed something like, "It hurts, God--it hurts to reveal to You the weakest parts of myself!" Yet, in revealing the weakest parts of our lives to our Maker, He allows His grace to flood into those areas. As He fills our every void, His glory shines through us like a great big light, a beam for all to see. We don't need to hide our weaknesses any longer, because God has already promised to allow His grace to be enough for us. In moments when we have no strength, we can run to Him to fill us with His strength.

Over the course of this year, I have begun to show God ALL of me, and it's been painful at times. However, it has also been one of the greatest experiences ever. Now I know where my strength comes from--and it's not my own futile effort. So when I start to fear, I run to His perfect love. And when I begin to worry, I cast my cares on Him. It's as simple as that, but it's been a struggle to simply release these heavy burdens that I so often try to carry on my own. However, I realize there is freedom in vulnerability to God. When we show God ALL of us--even the dark, dirty, and soiled parts--He begins to restore us. He washes us clean, and He delights in doing so!

Wow. What an amazing, amazing God we have. He is so patient with us in the process of our surrender, and He proves Himself faithful with each step we take.

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