Saturday, October 10, 2015

31Days - Weakness

I love Matthew West's song, Strong Enough:

I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us....

But, then, l love most songs by Matthew West, so maybe that's not surprising. But if you look at my life from the outside, maybe it is surprising....

Earlier this week my mom knocked on my door and asked my help. They've had some plumbing issues and the piano needed to be moved so the plumber could attempt to find the leak. "Sure, no problem, Mom." I walked over, noted it was on wheels and gave a good go at lifting my end. Uh... it didn't budge. At all. Okay, this was going to take a little more effort than I thought. In the end, we moved it no further than we absolutely had to. And while the plumber started in on his job, I stood leaning over the piano trying to catch my breath and hating how pitifully out of shape and weak I must've looked. Ugh.

Physically weak is bad enough. Where I really hate it, though, is showing weakness in other ways. Especially emotionally. Emotionally weak kids are targets for bullies. I learned early that if you didn't show it bothered you, things were likely to go much better. Childhood bullying is long gone, but I still really want to look like I've "got it all together." I don't want to admit brokenness and expose that soft underbelly. And I don't want to be in a position where I can't handle something myself. I hate asking for help; feeling weak and inadequate. I want to do it all on my own – just like any two year old.

So my fear for Day Ten:
I am afraid of looking weak.

So that's the fear. And there's some truth in the fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

... but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong
(1 Corinthians 1:27)

God has chosen the weak to shame the strong.

Honestly, I know that. I've heard it all my life. But I sure don't live like I believe it. "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" "God helps those who help themselves." "Don't ever let them see you cry." Those are the things that echo inside me.

But none of that – NONE of that – is Biblical. Here's Biblical:

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
(Judges 6:14-15)

Gideon says, "Strength? What strength? You've got to be kidding me!"

The Midianites had been tormenting, abusing, and starving the Israelites for seven years when God came to Gideon and told him he was going to be the one to rescue them. Gideon is a bit incredulous at this piece of news, because, as he says himself, he is not only the weakest of his family, but his family is the weakest clan of the entire tribe. He is the weakest of the weakest! God makes it clear in the following verses, though, that Gideon is His plan for rescuing the entire nation of Israel. Gideon still has trouble believing it, questions and is given proof when God burns up a wet offering (Judges 6:20). Gideon falls on His face and says okay. Then, just a few verses later he recounts and demands (and is given) another sign (Judges 6:36-38). Still not enough, he asks for and is given proof yet again (Judges 6:39-40). Gideon seriously cannot figure how God is going to use the absolutely weakest man in the kingdom to pull off the rescue of Israel.

It gets worse for Gideon, though. He showed up to do battle with 32,000 men. God said it was too many:

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.
(Judges 7:2)

So a process of elimination brought that down to 10,000. God still said it was too many. Finally with 300 men left, God allowed them to head to battle. Judges 7-8 tells of the miraculous victory.

Here's the deal: God wants to show off! No, not in a self-gratifying way. He wants to show us, and our enemies, the extent of His power, glory, and grace. He wants us to know He can take care of us – He doesn't need our help. He even wants our enemies to know He can take care of us, too. He wants them to know who they are dealing with. We are His kids and He's not putting up with it.

Here's what God wants us to understand:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
(Psalms 46:1)

God is our strength.

But so often I try to do it myself. I don't want to look weak. I've got this under control, you know? Oh good grief. Not only is that a ludicrous lie, but look at what God says about it:

"Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god."
(Habakkuk 1:11)

Those whose strength is their god will be held guilty.

Guilty of what? Of not trusting Him. The Psalms are full of verses about God being our strength, but this one caught me a little by surprise:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalms 28:7)

My heart trusts in God, and I am helped.

I must trust Him in order to accept His help! If I try to pull myself up by my own bootstraps; try to avoid looking weak; try to make myself look strong... what does that say? It says I don't trust Him! And I don't give Him space to work and to be glorified. I've got to get out of the way so He can shine.

... whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 4:11)

We are to serve through God's strength (not our own) so he may be glorified.

And He has said to me, "My grace 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 12:9

God's power is perfected in our weakness.

You know... I have to admit that I am not right there with Paul. Not only is he not afraid of his weakness, but the guy actually boasts about it. I'm not there. I want to be able to say I am, but I'm just not. Work in progress....

LORD, you know how I fear feeling and looking weak. I want to be able to handle life on my own, or to at least look like I'm handling it on my own. Oh, Daddy, I want to be able to show a greater trust in Your goodness than I do in my own strength, but it's so hard for me. So help me to remember that while I am so busy trying to look strong, I'm keeping people from seeing what You could really do in my life if I would only let you. Help me to come to the point where I, like Paul, can not only feel comfortable with my weakness, but actually boast in it. Help me to really desire that, LORD, because honestly... I just can't imagine it.

Fear: I am afraid of looking weak.


  • God has chosen the weak to shame the strong. (Judges 6-8; 1 Corinthians 1:27)
  • God is our strength. (Psalms 46:1)
  • Those whose strength is their god will be held guilty. (Habakkuk 1:11)
  • My heart trusts in God, and I am helped. (Psalms 28:7)
  • We are to serve through God's strength so he may be glorified. (1 Peter 4:11)
  • God's power is perfected in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).


  1. Wow Jenn, I am gonna have to chew on this for a while. .you sure have a gift!

  2. Wow Jenn, I am gonna have to chew on this for a while. .you sure have a gift!

  3. I don't like looking weak either. :( It's a pride thing, I know, so I need to get over it. Because the fact is I *am* weak, and that's okay. God doesn't need my strength; he wants me to need his. Thanks for these truths you're sharing, Jenn.

    1. Thanks ,Lisa! Your tip of has been invaluable as I've tackled this series! :)