REDEFINING STRENGTH: Building on Solid Ground

If you had told me that it would be over a year since my last post, I would not have believed you for a millisecond. For me, writing is essential. It’s not just a creative outlet, it’s a deeply important aspect of faith. It enables me to give voice to God’s presence in my life. It allows me to converse with Him and pour my heart out. The fact that I stopped writing for that long speaks to just how devastating last year was.

For most of last year, all I could was put my head down and try to walk through whatever happened next. I wasn’t up to the task. Last year utterly broke me. It shattered me in ways I didn’t think possible! I felt like I was drowning and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Honestly, there were days that I didn’t want want to stop it. I thought drowning would be preferable to struggling to stay afloat. In January of this year, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I am a strong person. I have always counted my strength as an asset. Faith in Christ and my strength in the face of adversity formed the foundation on which I based my life and my hope. Last year made it abundantly clear that, as a foundation for life and hope, MY strength is little more than a self-aggrandizing delusion. Eventually everyone reaches the end of their capacity to withstand the pummeling and they hit the canvas.

Face down on the canvas, praying that someone would throw in the towel, I was forced to reevaluate everything I thought to be true about myself and the way I operate in faith. The conclusion I came to is that anchoring any part of my life or hope in my own strength is one of the worst forms of hubris imaginable. It’s ludicrous! There’s nothing wrong with a positive self-image. It’s just not a good foundation upon which to build your house. Aside from being fragile, our self-image is constantly in flux as we change and grow. That may be fine for the walls in our building, but if our foundation is in constant flux, our walls will never stand

God is putting my life and soul back together. Part of this process has been spending time studying 2 Corinthians 11 and 12. Chapter 11 catalogs the adversity Paul endured in service to Christ.  It’s a morbidly impressive list. Paul got the crap kicked out of him and yet his response was “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that reveal my weakness” (2 Cor 12:5). WOW! Later in this chapter, God makes it clear that human weakness is the channel through which His strength flows. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is being made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). By boasting in his weakness, Paul allowed the power of Christ to completely enfold him and dwell in him. I like the idea of the power of Christ enfolding me and dwelling in me. After all, my strategdy up to this point has been a complete failure, so why not! I’ve got nothing to lose.

Paul’s attitude turns the cultural value of self-sufficiency, and if I am completely honest, my attitude, completely on its head. Being pleased with my weakness is like living in a foreign country. However, as I have pondered the last year, I have concluded that having my life turned upside down, has given me the correct perspective from which to understand the heart of these chapters. I have come to believe that humility and an honest evaluation and acknowledgement of my weakness opens the pathway for God’s strength to manifest perfectly in my life. Operating from human strength is NOT an asset. It is a devastating deterrent! It blocks God from manifesting His power on my behalf. Acknowledging my weakness is the ONLY path to His strength and the ONLY way through adversity to victory.

Now that I understand that my choice is between my little raindrop of strength and His ocean of power, I will gladly drown in His power every time! If I have to die to self to be present with God, bring on the grave y’all! So, while I never want to go through a season like this EVER again, I am learning to sing the Lords song in a foreign land. I am learning to be “well pleased with weakness, with insults, with distresses, with persecution and with difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak in human strength, then I am strong; truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength” (2 Cor. 12:10 AMP).  I now KNOW, in the depths of my soul, that a foundation based on anything except God’s strength is a false hope that leads to only to death, hell and destruction. If the price of a truly solid foundation is weakness, then let me be as weak as a new born babe!

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