As my body woke up from a night of slumber, so did the constant fear that rolled over and over in my stomach. I had recently completed a three minute speaker promo video and I had shared it with my family and friends, including a lot of pastors and ministry leaders. I even shared it on Facebook. I was unsure how people would receive it. I felt vulnerable. Exposed.
I was terrified of being rejected.
“At some point in life, we must come to know who we are, like who we are, and be who we are.” – Lloyd Penley
I received this message on a beautiful Saturday morning via Facebook from an older, wiser pastor. It challenged me. It made me think about who I am, and if I like that person. I’m blessed that in general, I like who I am. I think I’m fun, humorous, creative, and a good friend. But then I began to think about the part of me that gets her feelings hurt easily and who avoids conflict like the plague. I began to think about my weakness. I don’t like that part of me.
“Don’t fall. Please don’t fall” I pleaded with the beautiful china plate as I tried to hang it on the wall. I had recently made it with beautiful, sparkly jewels and I was hanging it on my colorful back porch. The plate hanger was hanging over a nail, but I was trying to “engineer” the two together (with a wire) so the plate wouldn’t fall off the nail and break.
I was minding my own business, sitting in my Bible study chair and reading through my journal. God and I were talking about my leadership of my churches ladies’ ministry. I fiercely love the women that I lead, but I struggle with the confrontation that is involved with leadership. I’ve been growing as a leader in this area, but working through conflict is still extremely hard for my sensitive tender-hearted self.
I was reading back through my journal and seeing where God had sent people to encourage me in my leadership journey. I was reading the kind and sweet things they had said when I suddenly burst out in tears. A deep, agonizing prayer came from within me: “GOD, I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.”
Some people make life look easy. They face their hard days with smiles on their faces. They shepherd their large families with contented hearts. They stare down cancer diagnoses with great faith. They handle rejection by leaning on God. The way they carry themselves and face trials is admirable.
When I look at myself in comparison, well, I’m not weathering life’s storms with as much grace, faith, or strength. Girls, I cry, a lot. In the car. On the floor curled up in the fetal position. At the doctor’s office. With my friends. During worship. And at Harris Teeter. I am personally responsible for the financial security of the Kleenex Corporation.
My family traveled to the mountains for Mother’s Day weekend. When I looked at the rental website, I saw a cottage that was by a lake. The pictures looked so peaceful and my overwhelmed soul longed for the peace that I saw in the lakeside beauty. I quickly made a deposit and signed the rental agreement. And then I looked forward with anticipation to sit by the tranquil lakeside, longing for the peace that it possessed.
“He leads me by still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2
It’s hard to admit a weakness. No, hard is not the right word. Perhaps excruciating. Terrifying. Embarrassing. I have experienced all of these emotions as I have shared with the world my struggle to believe that God will heal me. I can stand on a stage and teach God’s Word with great power, but then I go home and struggle to believe God’s Word. It’s a weakness.
As a speaker and leader, people view me as a Christian woman who has it all together. It has been so freeing to let people in on my secret…that I am far from perfect. I am far from living up to God’s standards. I’m far from living according to His Word. I’m far from measuring up to the expectations of most of the people in my church.
But really, when are honest enough to admit it, we are all broken. None of us measure up.
Here is a 5 minute teaser for the Philippians Bible Study Week 3 video. The set up is that I am very vulnerable and I confess in a faith-filled room that I struggle to believe that God will heal my migraine headaches. It was a powerful moment. Many tears were shed and men and women alike walked out encouraged. It goes along with the name of this blog: Celebrating Weakness. Did you know that the same miraculous power that God sent to the church at Pentecost in Acts 1:8 is being perfected in our weakness? Enjoy.
You can also go to my Vimeo channel at Vimeo.com/CelebratingWeakness to see a few more clips! I will post the full video later this week.
The praise and worship was wonderful, and I was enjoying every minute of it. But the men who comprised the worship band were an unlikely combination. The twenty-something pianist and drummer had a hippie look going on….long hair and a scraggly beard. The teenage guitarist had a youthful, boyish face. Then there was the middle-aged and straight-laced backup singer.
He stuck out like a sore thumb. The other band members were sporting their ratty T-shirts and blue jeans, and this gentleman had on a brightly-colored ironed golf shirt and neatly-pressed slacks. His hair was closely cropped and at nine o’clock at night he did not even have a five o’clock shadow.
One of these things was not like the others.
What does “Celebrating Weakness” really mean?
I have never been to an “AA” (Alcoholics Anonymous) or a “NA” (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting, but I have seen enough TV shows and movies to envision what they might be like. Imagine with me a room set up with a circle of chairs. The chairs are filled with brave but broken people, and they take turns saying their name, and their weakness.
I’m Joan, and I’m an alcoholic.
I’m Nicole, and I’m addicted to prescription drugs.
I’m Megan, and I’m addicted to meth.
The room is a safe place for brave but broken women to publicly acknowledge their weakness. CelebratingWeakness.com is a safe place for brave but broken women to publicly acknowledge their weakness.