Last week, in part one of this series, I began discussing the freedom in understanding and acknowledging that we are not enough, and that only Christ is.
I shared about my attempts to defeat my visceral feeling of impatience in my own strength, and the discouragement that followed. Realizing that I must look to Christ – both for forgiveness and for the ability to defeat sin – has been liberating.
Reason 1 re-cap
There is freedom when we acknowledge that only Christ is enough. Why? Because it is not up to us in our own power to change.
I am not enough…and there is freedom in that I don’t have to pretend to be something that I am not.
Best Foot Forward
A number of years ago my brother was passed over for a job that he really wanted. He was passionate about the work that he would have been doing had he been hired, and he certainly would have been a dedicated and loyal employee, so what had gone wrong?
Seeing a learning opportunity, my dad asked my brother to walk him through the interview. What did they ask you? How did you respond?
It became clear that my brother had not yet learned Job Interview Skill #1. Do not, under any circumstances, answer the ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ question too honestly.
In a job interview, the goal is to make yourself look good. The person who can subtly turn an honest weakness into a useful strength is more likely to be hired than the person who gives an answer like: “My greatest weakness is that I really hate being told what to do.”
My dad told my brother that he should talk to me for some advice. You see, I know how to put best foot forward, so to speak.
I’m also very tempted to stand still and leave it there.
The pressure that we as women can put on ourselves to look like we have it all together can be overwhelming, can’t it?
The amount of thought and effort we put into hiding our weaknesses and subtly promoting our supposed strengths can be tiring. On top of the amount of work it takes to promote an image of put-togetherness, pretending to be something we are not keeps us from real relationships, both with other people and with God.
From A Distance
In wartime, armies have used fake soldiers to give the impression of strength to opponents who are looking on from a distance. But this only works, from a distance. Likewise, when people are close to us, they will see who we are. This fact can keep us from bringing people close when we are pretending that we have it all together. When we are pretending that we are “enough.”
Our insecurities cause us to feel safer in hiding than in exposing ourselves to others’ opinions. We do not want anyone to think that we are weak, and yet somehow the Apostle Paul is willing to actually boast about his weaknesses. Why would he ever do that?
We are all aware that whether others know about our quirks and weaknesses or not does not determine their existence. By building walls around ourselves to try and cover them up, we effectively shut out all opportunities for real power to come in and demolish our weaknesses. If we could, in and of ourselves, be strong in every area, then none of us would have any struggles, would we? We would all simply choose to be more decisive, to be wiser, to be stronger. But that isn’t the case. We have weaknesses whether we like it or not.
The Apostle Paul knew that it was through acknowledging his weakness that Jesus’ power would be manifested in him. If I put on a front of being strong when I am not, I will never have the opportunity to point others to the true strength found in Christ. Instead, I will be pointing them to my own (fake) strength.
Maybe it’s time for you and me to take a step and put our second-best (i.e., worst) foot forward. Not to flaunt our sin or to throw a pity party over our struggles, but to be vulnerable with those around us and with the Lord.
It is only when we humble ourselves and are honest about our sins, struggles, doubts, and weaknesses that our insecurity can ever be defeated, so let’s not live like we are in a perpetual job interview.
We don’t need to pretend to be enough when we know that only Christ is.