Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 7 - The Strength of My Weakness

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (KJV)

To be able to admit weakness is a difficult thing to do, especially in this day and age where pride shows itself in an abundance amidst a world that feeds off the superficiality of shallow images. It seems one must continually show himself strong or face the onslaught and attack of those who count weakness as the greatest of all human evils. Yet, the Apostle Paul, said, 'When I am weak, then am I strong." This is a man who encountered a plethora of elements in his life time, that if we ourselves would have had to confront, we more than likely, in this powder puff age of easy living, would have crumbled to the ground and begged for mercy.

The weakness Paul seems to speak of here is not a weakness of strength or of character, but one of humility. It seems weakness is connected with the abundance of pride that comes with being a human being. It is very difficult for a man or a woman to admit they need something outside of themselves. To admit you need help is very close to admitting you are a failure. To admit not being able to do something is a humiliating event and tarnishes the pride of our egos.

Though I am still learning, after fifty plus years of contending with my ego, I am learning our greatest strength comes from our weakness and not just from our weakness, but admitting there are just some things we don't know and we need help. Thomas Kempis said, "The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss." Surely there are areas in our lives where we are strong, but in no way can we be strong in every area of life. To be able to admit we don't know everything is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Truly, if admitted, the only way a weakness can be turned to a strength is when we decide not to cover that weakness up with pride or superficial coatings of shallow images. We must be able to say, 'I need help' and in turn admit our shortcomings. "It is a sign of strength, not of weakness, to admit that you don't know all the answers." ~ John P. Loughrane

There is no doubt we are weak, in body and in mind. "Man's biological weakness is the condition of human culture." ~ Erich Fromm Though we would like to 'think' ourselves strong in body, it is quite evident we can only do so much. If you think this to be a false statement, get up from where you are right now, and go lift up the front end of your car. With this point made, its not being made to magnify your weakness, but to allow the transparency of the need to step out from behind the shadow of your pride. All of us have needs. All of us are frail and need things that transcend our capacity of humanness.

True growth begins when we are able to accept our own weakness. Maybe this is one reason why I enjoy running. It seems every day, I am confronted by my own weakness. Every step brings me in contact with my inner self. As I run, I hear the voices of my body reminding me of my weaknesses. Sometimes I am able to overcome and do well on a run, and, well...sometimes I fail to achieve what my ego had promoted and I end up meeting my weakness face to face. Which is a good thing because it is in these moments I am humbled to know my limitations, and yet at the same time, challenged to know that I still have more to attain to.

A man by the name of Nathaniel Summers said, "The strength of a person is often weighed by how they deal with their weaknesses." As I near my mid-fifties mark of living within this human shell of thoughts and emotions, both great and small, strong and weak. I have learned that there is strength in my weakness. It is there in the effort of a run, I hear my breath, feel the pounding of the path beneath my feet, it is there, I am confronted by the simplicity of the moment and the solitude of my needs. I am not promised my next breath nor my next step...I am a man of needs and herein lies the strength of my weakness!

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