Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.    2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT

Pain is weakness leaving the body.

At least it used to be. Now that I’m inching closer and closer to 40, pain is just part of the daily routine. You know, lower back pain. Knees that crackle like popping bubble wrap. Achy muscles. Foot cramps. Pain is just part of life, right?

I hate being perceived as weak. I hate admitting that I need help. I hate people believing that I can’t do something (even if I actually can’t do it).

As much as I despise admitting it, weakness is a factor in my life. Just like it is in yours. There’s no shame in it. The best thing we can do with our weaknesses is accept them. Right?

The Bible even tells us to rejoice in our weaknesses. In my mind that meant I had to accept the weakness in the first place, but that might have been because I was pathologically opposed to admitting it existed. I’m slowly beginning to realize, however, that accepting my weakness and rejoicing in it are two very different concepts.

What makes them different? It’s the heart behind the choice.

Why are you choosing to embrace your weakness? Is it because you believe it will never change? Or is it because you believe God can actually use your weakness in His big plan?

For me, when I accepted my weaknesses, they became part of my identity.

I’m asthmatic. I’m a stress eater. I’m overweight. I’m disorganized. I’m bad at math. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I’m single.

Y’all, that’s not who I am. My weaknesses don’t define me, but somewhere along the line, as I accepted them, they began to do just that. So when I tried to correct them, it became like amputating part of myself, and I lost the motivation to change.

To a certain extent, you MUST accept your weakness. If you don’t, you’re deceiving yourself. Everyone has weaknesses, but the moment we embrace them as defining characteristics of our lives, we lose sight of who we truly are. We stop growing.

Rejoicing in your weakness looks very different. Rejoicing in your weakness is accepting that you are limited but God is not.

That’s the difference.

When we rejoice in our weakness, we aren’t accepting that it defines us. We’re recognizing that it CAN change, but only if God changes it. And that if He doesn’t take it away, God will use our weaknesses for something bigger than we are.

Admitting that you need help isn’t weakness. It’s character. When we set our limited human strength aside and trust in the limitless power of God, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Being weak isn’t part of your identity. Being weak is an opportunity to do something through God’s strength that would be impossible otherwise.

Feeling weak functions like an indicator light on your car’s dashboard. It signals you need help to overcome it. Don’t despair when weakness creeps up on you and threatens to overwhelm you. Don’t give in because you believe it will never change. Rejoice. Celebrate. You can’t conquer your weakness alone, but you have a personal, intimate relationship with the God who can.

So ask Him for help. He always will. Give Him the chance to use your weakness to prove His strength.

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Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You – encouragement from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams
Finding Fireflies

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author and entrepreneur who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks will never match. She prefers Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew, wears her watch on the wrong wrist, and Mr. Darcy is her love language. Follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: How has God used weakness in you?

Impatient with the Process

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

The year my husband spent abroad after graduating college, he taught for several months at a Bible school in the Fiji Islands. There was a missionary there who was much-revered for his wisdom and excellent teaching. After one particularly inspiring class, the students surrounded the godly man and asked: how long did it take him to prepare for such a profound lesson?

The old missionary smiled at the eager students. “Oh, about 45 years and a half-hour,” he told them.

Some things take time. A long time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a godly Christian. Yet often, we struggle with impatience at our lack of maturity. Why can’t we be wiser with our words? When will we ever feel confident in our Bible knowledge? Will there come a time when our foolishness is at an end?

When are we finally going to get it all together?

A look at scriptural examples of God’s time frame in transformation to maturity can also be discouraging. Moses spent the first forty years of his life in the Pharaoh’s palace. Then, after murdering an Egyptian guard, Moses fled into the wilderness. There he remained for forty more years. It wasn’t until Moses was the ripe old age of 80 that God called him to lead his people out of Egypt.

Then there is the story of David. The prophet Samuel anointed him to be the next king when he was quite young, still tending the family sheep out in the fields. While David knew what the future held for him, few others did. Life did not change quickly for David after the anointing. But eventually King Saul saw him as a threat, forcing David to flee into the wilderness. There he remained in exile for many years, continually pursued by Saul and his army. It was a long wait before God would finally fulfill His promise.

Even Jesus spent time in the wilderness in preparation for His public ministry. For forty days, He fasted and endured temptations flung at Him by Satan.

Clearly, preparation takes time. And it is in the wilderness that God often does His most important work in preparing people for their purpose.

Why the long wait in the wilderness for each of these future leaders? The writer of Hebrews gives us a clue (in reference to Jesus): “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:8-9 NASB).

Jesus perfected His obedience through experiencing suffering in the wilderness, as did Moses and David.

Being in the wilderness, with its isolation and difficulties, can have a valuable outcome. Through our experience there, we see the reality of just how much we need Him. When we do, it is only then that we are best equipped to do His work: our hearts fully open to His leading and ready to choose His will over our own.

Time in the wilderness grows us into much more effective servants. Paul learned this when dealing what he considered to be a thorn in his flesh. “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me,” he wrote. “And He has said to me, ‘My power is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NASB). Paul learned the power of Christ through his “wilderness” experience.

Are you suffering in the wilderness today? Hang in there. God is doing a work in you as you wait on Him. Someday you will be able to look back and see what He accomplished in you during that time. And you will count it worth the cost.

I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.                                                                                     Philippians 1:6 NASB

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Impatient with the Process – insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: How has God used a wilderness experience to transform you?