Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You Suck

So, the thing with the crutches was not going as well as I had hoped. So, healing was coming much slower than I had anticipated. So, even though I had known in advance that everything would be more difficult on three legs, it was not making my lack of perceived progress any less discouraging. In spite of all these factors, I had not really anticipated the response from my sweet 16 after she had to listen to yet another speech concerning my frustration over not moving more quickly.

“You know Mom, of all the fruits of the spirit I think the one you have the least amount of is patience. When it comes to patience, you suck.”

Ouch. Impertinent teen. How dare she. . . . except, didn’t my buddy just tell me the same thing in an email last week? “I wish I could help out with your inability to walk as I know you are not the most patient person in the world.”

Now sisters, when your buddy and your daughter tell you the same thing in one week - it’s time to listen. Even if the words you hear are not the ones you wish had come to your ears. So what did I need to learn about this area where it was pretty obvious that I sucked?

It is nice to know that the Bible is full of people who struggled with weaknesses. Paul was just one of those people. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he describes dealing with something he calls a “thorn in the flesh.” Paul does not tell us what this specific weakness is, but He does tell us that He begged God to take it away. And God’s response is one of my favorite verses in the Bible:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

How exciting is that? The very area I may be struggling with the most, right where life is challenging and everyone in sight can see that I am struggling - that is the very place that God comes along with His grace (unmerited favor; have to love that concept!) and power in me.

So, let’s put our big girl panties on and talk. Where are you struggling? No one may have told you (at least this week) that you suck, but we all struggle somewhere. What would happen if we turned to God and asked Him to show us how those very areas where we struggle are the places where His grace and power can come shining through? What difference might it make in our life and the lives of those around us if we stopped trying to “fix” everything that was wrong with us, admitted our struggles to each other and then let God’s grace and power do the rest?

I do not know what this might look like in your life. But in mine, it means that when my daughter says, “You suck,” we can look at each other and laugh. Because the child is right. I do. But I serve a God who specializes in being gracious and strong right where I am weak. And that, my friends, is something worth smiling about.