Posted by: karanoel | September 9, 2022

The gift of weakness

John and I were watching a show the other night called Help! I Wrecked My House. The episode’s home was set in our very own town of Tustin where the new owners, a young couple who were very proud of their purchase, thought they could save money by doing their own renovations. The guy was a welder by trade and good with his hands so it made sense that he, along with help from his enthusiastic girlfriend, could figure out how to replace the dated flooring and cabinets and knock down an unwanted wall or two. 

After ripping out the kitchen floor and attempting to knock down a pesky wall before turning their attention to the cabinets, the couple made the difficult discovery that welding expertise, even when paired with hard work, enthusiasm and good intentions, does not translate to construction know-how. They ran into problems they didn’t know how to handle, leaving a mess in their wake and making their house uninhabitable. 

This is when they sought help from designer and builder, Jasmine Roth. “This is worse than I was expecting,” she said as she walked through the disaster zone. She then proceeded to point out the damaged subfloor and the potentially catastrophic dangers they had exposed themselves to, like the live electrical wires in the wall they were sledgehammering or the gas line they neglected to turn off when attacking the cabinets. Oops.

Fortunately, Jasmine was not daunted by the task at hand because she is trained and experienced in home renovations and has a team of knowledgeable people who provide the additional labor and expertise she needs to get the job done safely and effectively. The couple had come to the right place for help, which was proven by their great joy when seeing the finished project and getting to move into a sound and very beautiful home that will now serve them well. 

Here’s the thing that struck me. There was no shame in this couple trying to tackle this task on their own.  Yes, they came up way short of their goal and it probably felt like a huge failure. But the process of trying to do it on their own led them to the knowledge of their limitations and a realization of their need for help. And because they had the humility and courage to act on that realization, rather than giving up on the hope of a livable house or continuing to make things worse with their own renovations, they ended up with results that were far superior to anything they would have been able to achieve on their own – even if things had gone more smoothly. And I’m guessing they learned a lot in the process that they can now use for the benefit of others undertaking similar projects.

Which got me thinking. We have a culture that places an incredibly high value on independence, as well as personal strength and achievement. We generally see weakness and failure as something we should avoid at all costs and hide if it presents itself. But what if it is one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive? What if it is the very thing that lands us in the exact place we wanted to be?  “How?,” you may ask. By enabling us to see the limitations of our own ability. 

You see, it isn’t usually until we’ve tried – and failed – to create joy, peace, security or freedom for ourselves that we realize that we just don’t have what it takes. It is a heartbreaking realization as we survey the time lost, the damage we’ve done or the apparent impossibility of the task ahead. We could easily get stuck there, disheartened and depressed, as we continue to try – and fail – to make things better or give up altogether. But this honest moment of acknowledged weakness could also be the birthplace of hope; where we humble ourselves and ask for help. Where we seek out people who are trained or experienced in what we are walking through. Where we call out to God who is not daunted by the task of “you” or the mess you’ve created, but sees your weakness as the most pleasing canvas to demonstrate His love and ability. Where lives that were simply lacking or were all-out disaster zones become more sound and beautiful than anything we could have accomplished it on our own; lives that serve us well and teach us how to serve others well. 

This is good news! It means our struggles are not the end of our journey; just a necessary beginning. So let us stop resenting our weakness and being ashamed of our failures, but instead be thankful for this very privileged place, humble ourselves and seek out the help we need. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


Responses

  1. beautiful truth! thank you for posting.

    • Thank you! 😊


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