Five long weeks of traveling and I am back in my church in Sydney. “What was your biggest takeaway?” asked a friend.
I have been learning the art of dying. Five weeks of travelling to amazing places being surrounded by amazing people…and that is my take away? Unfortunately my wayward heart produces unrealistic expectations. The time has to be radical. Life changing even. And I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of pressure. My introverted insecurity creeps back in. What if they find me boring? Uninteresting? What if I don’t make the most of this opportunity? Positive self-talk actually does this cycle more harm than good. What I need is not more of me but less of me; to die. And it hurts every time. I need to give up my dreams and embrace God’s instead.
When my expectations are the greatest are when I need to die the most. God has taught me this with everything I treasure. He is slowly replacing all my idols with Himself. And He is enough. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
It’s Ok to be Vulnerable
One night on our trip my husband and I were invited to share about our ministry. I was squished on a couch next to several teenagers and the other guest speaker quietly started to speak. “Your generation feels like they have to be the ones who do everything. (Their generation…I happen to be resonating with this). Especially if you are in ministry. You have to be the leader who doesn’t need help, who can fit any role and is good at everything. But that’s not what Jesus says. We are a Body and we need to be ok with the things we aren’t good at, so that others can help us. We need to be dependant because we are a family.”
The Purpose in our Weaknesses
Our weaknesses make two things evident. The first that comes to mind is an opportunity to love each other, which also happens to be God’s way of showing the world we are different. My brothers and sisters actually need my weakness so they can use their strengths. Yes, it’s vulnerable; but that’s what love is. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That was God’s big plan. That was how He was planning to reveal Himself to the world…by our love, not just for the world, but especially for each other. People we would never be friends with normally except they happen to sit next to us in church. People we don’t click with.
The second thing weaknesses point to is God’s power. God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. And Paul’s response? “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9). We each have our quota of weaknesses. In fact, Paul compares us to clay jars, cracked and fragile, but with invaluable treasure inside.
So I have a question to ask myself. Am I willing to die in the insignificant moments, to care for the uninteresting people, to be vulnerable, to truly love? Because that’s what it will take to see others come to know Jesus. His death first and our death second.