I have never been what anybody would consider a "strong" person.
I started out the runt of the litter, so to speak, and bottom of the heap. Painstakingly shy and devoid of any athletic ability, I was a perfect target for the neighborhood bully and the last (sometimes second to last) to be chosen for any team. Other than my intellectual prowess, at least through grade school, I had very little to offer the world. I would sit and watch all those "everything" people. The ones that were smart and athletic and popular and grand citizens and wonder how they did it all and how they knew how to do all they did. I somehow failed in the skills department. Nobody would have ever described me as strong.
Stress and pain and life in general were hard for me to handle. I had my inner demons, too. My weakness went technicolor when, at 17, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. That year is a blur and yet God plucked me out of the pit. But I was pitied because I was so weak.
Pretty much all my almost 50 years have been a saga of one weakness after another. I wanted to be the strong one. The tough girl. And yet I wasn't. I'm not. I was never the strong disciplinarian when raising our kids. I couldn't homeschool, even though I got plenty of "anybody can do it" advice (well, anybody but me . . . at least not without bloodshed).
I entered into the world of real estate in absolute terror. The stereotype of the hard-nosed, aggressive, pushy realtor is well earned. I have encountered more than enough agents who graduated from The Steamroller School of Real Estate.
And my passage through "The Change of Life" was anything other than a show of strength, what with incinerator-worthy hot flashes and emotional meltdowns that would make any drama queen proud. Coping was not my strength. Nothing was.
But I guess where I feel the weakest usually is on the inside. There are sometimes that my heart just hurts. Those times when the stress of life and the reality of my own failures seem too much. There are times when loneliness overtakes me and I don't know where to turn. There are times when I am handed a plate of obstacles but with seemingly no tools whatsoever to tackle them. There are times . . . well, what am I saying? . . . most ALL the time . . . I feel so weak.
Last night I went back to 2 Corinthians 12:10. Well, I read through the entire passage but got down to the punch line and these words jumped off the page:
"I delight in weaknesses." Delight. Delight? Well, that is what the NIV says anyway. Other versions say things like "am content in" or "glory in" and so on. But for some reason the translators of the NIV chose "delight in."
Why . . . WHY would ANYBODY delight in weakness? Our world HATES weakness. Sometimes even the church hates weakness. But we are to delight in it. Why? Well, because of the verse before that. God's power is made perfect in weakness. He says "My grace is sufficient for you."
What a relief! I don't HAVE to be strong. I don't have to depend on something inside of me that isn't there to get me along in this broken world. I can't.
Almost two centuries ago Henry Francis Lyte penned one of my favorite hymns, with this beautiful line: ". . . well our feeble frame He knows."
I am so thankful for a God who "remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14)
There is no strength in dust, only in the Creator of the universe and the Creator of the dust. I can delight in that.