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Faith Goals Self-care

Power In Weakness

Every Wednesday night, our church does Care Night to reach those who are struggling with anxiety, isolation, and addictions. Recently, our Care Night Pastor was encouraging people to attend and talked about how there is power in our weakness. We find God’s strength when we are able to admit our weaknesses and trust in him. Those words really struck a chord with me.

I’ve been learning a lot about vulnerability and sharing my weaknesses this past year. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I hold things close to the chest. Even when I try to be “in the moment” there is a since of control to it. I recently saw a video of me singing on worship team. I remember feeling to free to move to the music and raise my hands, yet as I watched the video, I was surprised how controlled my motions seemed. Apparently, 43 years of perfectionism is hard to break!

The problem is that being perfect pushes people away. And to be honest, being perfect is exhausting. There’s so much self-doubt, self-criticism, and loneliness. I try so hard to be perfect on the outside, but I’m a mess on the inside.

Not Perfect

I’m not perfect. I have nervous ticks that come out even more when I’m stressed — from rolling my eyes, to scrunching my nose, to slightly nodding my head or stretching. It’s embarrassing to me because it is such an obvious physical imperfection. My daughter struggles with anxiety/OCD and is getting a tween attitude that leaves me at my wits end and struggling to know how to help her. I’m more angry, frustrated, and depressed than I want to admit. But that’s okay. God’s power and strength is found in my weakness.

My previous church talked a good game about grace and forgiveness, but made it clear that if you didn’t appear perfect (say the correct things, be involved in certain ministries, wear the right clothes), you didn’t fit in their church. It hurt. But in my feelings of weakness, God led me to a church that values our differences, welcomes us, cares for us, and points us to our Savior. I find myself being more vulnerable and real with people…and they still want to hang out with me! ūüėČ

Be Real

Jennie Allen gives a great example of being known, not perfect, in her book Get Out of Your Head. She writes:

“I met a new friend after the move to Dallas. Ellen is sophisticated and always says the right thing…she was the kind of new friend who is so awesome, you feel intimidated to be around her (though she would never want you to). The first time we met, I remember playing it safe. I thought I’d hold back and feel her out.

“But the second time, I decided to go for it. I was all of me — opinionated, loud, honest, and passionate. She laughed and started calling more often. She liked me in all my chaotic glory.”

When we stop trying to be perfect and share who we are with others — strengths and weaknesses — that’s when the deep relationships form. That’s where God can meet us and grow us.

As I have been willing to share my hurt and pains with others, I’m realizing that I’m not alone and creating deeper friendships. God is bringing joy and healing to my heart by being real and weak. I’m thankful for recent women in my life with whom I’ve been unapologetically me…and felt known and loved.

And I’m thankful for God’s hope and strength in my weakness.

“And He said to me,¬†‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’¬†Therefore most gladly¬†I will rather boast in my infirmities,¬†that the power of Christ may rest upon me.¬†Therefore¬†I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ‚Äôs sake.¬†For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Faith Family

Time to Lose Control

Our sermon this past Sunday at church was about respecting authority. While my parents did a great job of teaching me to show respect to others, I’m also a control freak.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with enneagram, but I’m a 8w9. As an enneagram 8, I like to be in control and I don’t like to be controlled by others. Not a great combo when it comes to how I deal with authority!

And the past couple of years have caused even more stress for this control freak! People telling me to stay home, wear a mask, get tested, etc. There is already so much I can’t control (weather, gas prices, etc.) that these additional requirements about sent me over the edge.

On top of all the pandemic nonsense, we went through some really tough stuff last year that I was out of my control and left me helpless and broken. And when I feel that way, I find myself desperately searching for something to control — which usually ends up being my husband and kids.

Loving or Controlling?

Instead of being a team player with my husband, I’ve been digging my heels in on issues (where we both have valid points) and trying to control God’s story for his life. I want to rush him through his healing process and take away his pain. Countless times he reminds me that I don’t get to dictate his feelings. That w9 of my enneagram (8w9)…that’s me wanting peace and happiness. So, I try to control my husband and my kids’ feelings to get to a state of peace and happiness, instead of just listening and letting them move at their own pace.

My 10-year-old daughter (who struggles with OCD and anxiety — which I definitely have no control over) keeps telling me that I’m not listening to her. I am listening, but I’m trying to fix her problem or make her feel better…control how she feels. What she’s trying to tell me is that she wants me to just listen and allow her to feel. She doesn’t want the solution or for me to show her the flip side of the coin. She wants to be heard and validated.

And I get it. Because I hate when people do that to me too. I want to be able to tell my frustrations and process through it, not have someone tell me what to think.

What’s the Solution?

Ultimately, it’s about trusting God. Trusting Him with those I love. Trusting God with the future. And trusting that He cares for my family more than I do and will handle every situation. I’m learning that, even when everything feels out of control, God is in control. And I’m trying to learn to let go, listen more, and let people be.

And this is how I can best love the people in my life.