Everything ached. Muscles I didn’t know I had throbbed within me. Pain bloomed in my neck, my hip, my left knee. I gasped as I got out of bed. I hadn’t done anything mighty or heroic; all I’d done was go skiing. Truth be told, I’d spent far less time on the skis and far more time skyrocketing down the hill towards a face plant.
When I had strapped on those skis and glanced at the hill, I realized I somehow needed to get down. Panic rushed inside of my chest, and fear filled my lungs. I shuddered.
“You can do this,” I pep-talked myself. “It’s just a little snow on a bit of an incline. Besides, you have no choice. You have to get down this hill.”
I’m Canadian. Knowing how to ski ought to be embedded within me. I watched young kids fly past me as I inched my way down the slope. My friend waited patiently for me at the bottom. I was terrified. I regretted my choice of embracing a Canadian winter. I should’ve stayed home with a book.
I began to pick up traction down the hill and, much to my dismay, started moving faster and faster. I lost control. I tried to stop, but instead my body flew, crashing into the snow face first.
“Ow,” I moaned. I looked like the abominable snow monster, my face cold and covered in snow. Somehow my ski poles had landed on opposite sides of the hill.
The next morning, each step I took reminded me of the many crashes I had the day earlier. I ached and ached.
I hate the feeling of being weak. I don’t like being bad at new things. It was ridiculous for me to assume skiing would have somehow been easy or that I could have had the grace of an Olympian after a few tries. But I wanted to be great. I think of Amy March’s words from the recent movie adaption of Little Women, “I want to be great or nothing!”
It’s a trap I fall into over and over — believing I need to be great in order to be loved, thinking I need to be interesting in order to be liked. I convince myself I need to perform a song and dance to prove to people I’m worth sticking around for. I want to be special and significant, to make a mark on the world, to leave a lasting legacy. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, I want to take a shortcut and become like God. Over and over, I find myself thinking, “Okay, God, I can take it from here and do this on my own now.”
Instead, I am reminded of how weak I am, how finite and how ordinary. How much a tumble down a ski hill hurts the next morning.
God doesn’t need our bravado, charisma, or strength. He doesn’t need a blue checkmark on Instagram, a book deal, or a decent salary. He doesn’t need us to perform, pretend, or produce in order to ensure He’ll stick around.
He wants us to come exactly as we are — limping and weary. It turns out God can do a lot with ordinary and finite and weak. Jesus said the man who prayed from his heart, repenting in his utter weakness, was the prayer He preferred, and the widow who gave a penny away gave more than the rich who’d given plenty. In the upside-down kingdom we reside in, weakness is exactly what Jesus wants.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “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.”
The thought of boasting in my weakness makes me cringe. A friend recently told me, “I think I’m meant to wear my weakness instead of hiding it.”
Wear my weakness? It’s exactly what Jesus did time and time again. God chose a teenage girl to give birth to His Son. A couple of lowly shepherds to be the first disciples. A woman to be the first preacher of the gospel.
And most of all, God Himself hung on a cross, wearing our pain and our shame and our weakness.
There’s no need for greatness at the foot of the cross. It’s not about us anyway. Instead, we can come exactly as we are, knowing all the glory belongs to Jesus.
Your weakness is the best spot for you to be. Come to God in your neediness, limping and tired, and surrender every part of you.
Then just watch what God can do.
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