Wrestling with Weakness



I started 2021 out strong, on the road to finally reading the Bible through in one year. Every

morning, I was up dark and early with coffee and a breakfast bar making progress through

Genesis and Psalms per The Bible Project ’s schedule. I even got my 6-year-old to watch the

prescribed videos with me, which invited lots of good conversations and learning opportunities for us both.


Still on track as week three began, my progress came to a halt when my uterine fibroids decided to wreak the most havoc they had to date. I laid on the sofa for two days with zero energy. No sooner had I recovered (and gotten on my doctor’s schedule for treatment!) than my daughter got sick and ended up in virtual school for five weeks. During that time, I slept very little, worried a lot about her recovery, lost my patience more than I’d like to admit and threw out my back.


The bare minimum of responsibilities got completed and more than one email still needs a

response. Weakness descended on me this year, and honestly, it hasn’t fully left. Frailty, fragility, incapacity, fatigue, uselessness, powerlessness, inadequacy - can you relate to any of these descriptions? They all have crushed me recently and forced me into a mental wrestling match with myself. What do I do with all this weakness?


The Apostle Paul boasted of his weakness in 2 Corinthians 12. While he kept quiet about most of the details of his life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he shared this gem in verse 9:


“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”


Paul then professed, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


God meets us in our weakness. For me, acknowledging weakness is to acknowledge my

humanity. My tendency is to think of myself as able to handle just about anything, until I can’t.


A book I go back to for healthy reminders that it is okay to be human is David G. Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery.


Benner notes that many followers of Christ first begin to know themselves by their sinfulness as contrasted with a holy and perfect God. They receive His love and forgiveness, which is a

beautiful and freeing experience, but the development of knowing ourselves can’t stagnate

there.


“Though we glibly talk about a personal relationship with God, many of us know God less well than we know our casual acquaintances. Too easily our actual relationship with God is

remarkably superficial,” writes Benner.


“… Hear God’s call to a deep personal encounter as an invitation, not a reprimand,” he

continues. “It is an invitation to step out of the security of your boat and meet Jesus in the

vulnerability and chaos of your inner storms. It is an invitation to move beyond objective

knowledge to personal knowing. It is an invitation to truly know God.”


My secure boat stays afloat with strength, usefulness and competence. When the seeping

starts, I want to plug the holes, and if it gets really bad, heave buckets of water over the side to keep the boat from sinking. But Jesus wants me to stop fixing and come to Him.


There is no formula for how we approach God. We are all on different paths and unique in our giftedness, woundedness and self-awareness. The following have helped me:


Cultivating quietness

Being curious and honest

Trusting in God’s goodness

Relishing in creation

Reading Scripture and good books

Listening to and sharing deeply with safe people


Please share what has worked for you in the comments below as I still have a lot to learn!


I did end up getting treatment for my fibroids and, at first, it seemed to have solved the problem.


But nearly two weeks ago, my blood loss was so fast and furious, I actually passed out. Both

my husband and I reached a new level of fear when that happened.


Rather than letting it overtake me, I am now better able to accept the vulnerability and allow

Christ to bring peace to my inner storms as I figure out next steps.


- Jill Braden Balderas

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