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.
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! 😉
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’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10