Making Weakness Perfect

I  have a lot of bad habits that I'm trying to break lately.  I'm doing everything I can to get rid of them, but my success rate has been kind of a mixed bag, which makes it easy to get discouraged at times.  

The good news is I'm learning that there are multiple underlying issues that I need to deal with to break some of the unhealthy habits I've accrued over the past several years.  

That last line was mildly sarcastic, in case you were wondering.  

Still, it's never a bad thing to take a hard look at yourself and figure out how to be a better "you," even if it means dealing with stuff you don't want to deal with.  

And I also think it's okay to call these underlying issues "weaknesses," a term we don't use that often anymore. 

"Weakness" is a word that has fallen out of favor over the past several years.  Instead, we use words like "opportunities" or "growing edges" that mean the same thing but sound more pleasant. 

Maybe it's time to reframe the word "weakness."  It doesn't have to assume a judgemental, self-loathing connotation, which is why we dropped it, to be honest.  

What if the word "weakness" can be used to express how finite we are and how much we need God's grace?  What if we let ourselves off the hook and learn that God has a purpose for us despite our weaknesses?

None other than the Apostle Paul struggled with a weakness that he desperately wanted to be free from but never could quite shake.  He even asked God to liberate him from it, which he related in a letter to the church in Corinth: 
8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
We have no idea what Paul was talking about, exactly.  Most scholars believe it was probably poor eyesight, but it could have been just about anything.  The answer that Paul got was not exactly what he was hoping for, but it would become a defining moment for him.  

He learned that despite his weaknesses, God had purposes for him that would ultimately serve the Kingdom of God and not Paul's ego.  His weaknesses would be made "perfect."  

The great contemplative Thomas Keating once wrote: 
It is in bearing our weakness with compassion, patience, and without expecting all our ills to go away that we function best in a Kingdom where the insignificant, the outcasts and everyday life are the basic coordinates.  The Kingdom is in our midst. 

While this shouldn't serve as an excuse to not work to become our best and most authentic selves, it does give us hope that there is grace to help us in our weaknesses. 

May you find comfort and strength in this beautiful knowledge.  May you seek grace and God's perfection in all of your weaknesses.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  




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