This year when I was asking God what my “word” for 2019 would be I got, “power”. Obviously, I was like DUDE, dopeee. Super stoked on that God, thank you very much. I started the year struggling, I started the year uncertain about quite honestly…everything in my life. COOL, cool, feels cool. So to hear that 2019 would be marked by power I was like YESSS it’s happening, Jesus is going to pull me out of this season that really sucks, and set me up. HOOK. ME. UP. JESUS.
LOL. Wrong. Not to like freak anyone out, but this may be the hardest season to date living life with Jesus. When I think things are looking up – they get torn down again. When I think there’s progress being made, it gets demolished. When I think things can’t get lower…they can. Maybe power just wasn’t my word like I originally thought, but actually, I think this is exactly what it’s all about.
So, I don’t really know where to start, and I want to be as authentic as I can with this. I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I’ve “figured” anything out, or that it’s some box I’ve checked, or even that I’m sitting on the other side of this computer not feeling exactly how I’m actually feeling – pretty down, pretty upset, struggling my buns off, and questioning a lot. Get like four sentences into this and you’ll question why you’re even reading what I have to say.
This is by no means a pity party, but because I’ve shared some serious highs with you on this blog it feels wrong to not share the moments when I’m like….what the junk is even happening? All that to say I’m painfully eking out this blog post because I can’t just come here when things are good, and I can’t just share my journey with Jesus when it feels fantastic.
Journeying with Jesus doesn’t always feel easy or look easy. Sometimes journeying with Jesus means grappling with real questions, wrestling with the tough things…and that’s just as important as the times when you’re getting hit with revelation after revelation… when it feels cloud nine amazing. On that note…
Poor In Spirit
Two days ago I sat down to write, mid tears, and the only thing that came to mind was “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Haha. Oh goodness. And then I just start asking myself if I actually believe that. I am poor in spirit, and God’s telling me because of that I am blessed…do I actually believe that? I don’t think I do. I don’t feel blessed. The kingdom of Heaven is MINE? Doesn’t really feel like that right now. But Jesus is telling me there is power behind being poor in spirit. Not REALLY what I thought this year’s word was going to be all about, but whatever…cool.
Am I still blessed if I don’t feel like I am? How can I be poor in spirit while the JOY of the Lord is my strength? No these aren’t rhetorical, I’m asking you. Help me out here.
At the beginning of the year the Lord started talking to me about weakness and brought up 2 Corinthians 12:9-11:
“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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There that word power is…God’s power is made perfect in MY weakness. Do I actually believe that? Do I believe that when I am weak, I am strong? Do I believe that when I am weak, Christ’s power is resting on me? Sure doesn’t feel that way. Really feels like trash. If I believed that would I still feel this way, or would my feelings about it change? I mean they’re using the word delight there…God, please help me delight in my weakness. I HAVE to delight in my hardships. There’s no other option. That’s where the power is. Why can’t I just believe it?
People are saying I’m clearly “in the wilderness” and they’re probably right. For people not up with the “Christianese” that just means a whole lot of uncertainty, a lot of hardship, and a lot of dryness. It just means hard.
So I started looking at the time when Jesus went into the wilderness for his 40 day fast – talk about hard. At least I have tacos to give me a false sense of security. Anyway, talk about WEAKNESS. Like dang, that boy must’ve been weak. Jesus was fully human, he wasn’t just in the wilderness making friends with the birds and whittling sticks. Actually, maybe he was also doing that, but He had to be seriously struggling.
It was after this wilderness season that the devil tempted him. It was in His weakness that the power of the Lord came through. It was after this season that he was catapulted into power and His ministry. I wonder what His ministry would’ve looked like had He not cultivated that weakness in the wilderness.
I don’t know what it means to glory in weakness yet, I have no clue how to take hold of the blessed life offered to those poor in spirit, and I’m clueless how to manage the wilderness well. I guess I don’t have many answers here. I know that the Lord wants us to grasp this as His children. I know there’s something to take hold of here. And I think at the very least we’re offered Christ’s power in it all.
I think I’m just begging God to help me understand what it means to be a person who really believes these truths and walks in them. I have to know how to be with those in weakness, I have to know how to be a person of weakness. I’m so quick to lend a helping hand and so slow to be the one who has to take someone else’s hand.
I just want to come alongside people and champion them in their weaknesses and wilderness seasons, and I want to allow my weakness to invite others into my hard seasons. I want to cheer them on while they struggle in desperation for Jesus to show up, and I don’t want to give them cookie cutter answers about how to quickly escape these seasons. We have to be a people who has the Father’s heart on this. And I think the urgency to move out of weakness is just not it. I think the worldly response of “something must not be right,” just isn’t where Jesus is in this.
I’ve gotten a lot of well-intentioned unhelpful advice. Telling me to pull myself up, and start serving others more, worship more, do this more, do that more. And I just can’t. The prayers I’m getting out are freaking lame. But I’m confident that my perfectly worded prayers aren’t what moves the heart of God.
What I’m saying is I’m at capacity. True weakness to me right now is looking at all those things, and just being like…okay, but I really don’t have it in me right now, God just HAS to show up – He absolutely must. I think the enemy would love for me to think that I’m in this season because I’m not DOING enough, and convince me that the only way out is shouldering and elbowing my way through. I’ve done it before, and I could do it again.
I guess I’m at a place where I’d rather have a difficulty-ridden life filled with my weaknesses but matched with God’s power, than ever elbow my way past God into what I want. Look at me. My life feels hard and I’m a mess, I’m in shambles. What the heck do I know?
It’s not my lack of doing that’s keeping me in this place. And never again will I try to rush a friend out of a wilderness season with just more advice and good ideas. I’ll be the friend who glories in my friend’s weakness. I’ll be the friend who thanks God on behalf of my friend for their hard season because I’ll know they don’t have the words themselves. I’ll be the friend reminding my sister or brother that this is where the power is, this is where God just has to get all the glory.
God help me be a person who loves people through and help me be a person who lets others love me through too.
“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:2