Hello everyone and welcome to the first post of 2020! Today’s post is actually a guest post by S. G. Willoughby! She’s a fellow member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and the blogger of sgwilloughby.com.
I was reliable. I never cried in front of anyone who wasn’t related to me. I was an athlete and loved to hike, run, swim, paddleboard — you name it. I could have been called “strong.” Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Do you consider yourself strong? Be honest. There is no shame in knowing your strengths. I knew what I was good at. But then one day I got sick.
And I never got better.
Over time, I lost all of my “strengths” to this horrible thing called chronic illness. I lost my physical strength, becoming too weak to even sit upright on my own, barely able to roll over. I lost my mental strength to brain damage. I even had to drop out of school for a few years. I lost my emotional stability to depression and anxiety and so much more. I found myself sobbing all the time both for no reason or for very good reasons. I felt fearful and angry and sad and jealous and guilty and so many more indescribable emotions wrapped into one.
I felt anything but strong.
Maybe you relate. Maybe you’re feeling weak in some area of your life. You feel like you can’t keep up with everything or that you’re bad at social interactions or you worry that you aren’t as athletic as your sibling. Maybe you feel like you’ve messed up too much or like you can’t live up to the expectations you or others have of you. There are so many ways we can feel weak.
But today, I want to share with you five ways your weaknesses can actually be strengths. How God can use the things that you most want to hide and make them your most powerful assets.
#1: Your weaknesses force you to rely on God.
This whole concept of weaknesses being strengths can seem a bit paradoxical at first. But God is not limited by what seems logical to our human minds. When we have weaknesses, it forces us to rely on God.
We can’t be everything we think we should be on our own, so it forces us to rely on God’s grace. God knows exactly how weak we are, and He loves and works through us anyway. All humans fall short of perfection because we are a fallen race living in a fallen world. But God has grace for us because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us.
When we are weak, it gives us the opportunity to experience God’s unmatched grace to a whole new degree. When we are weak, it mercifully forces us to rely on Him for strength to keep going. What a blessing!
“But [God] 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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
#2: Your weaknesses glorify God.
People notice when you are forced to rely on God. They see you living in a way that seems impossible because of your weakness, and they ask “how?” Of course, the answer to how is, “It’s Jesus.”
I shouldn’t have been able to do anything in my weakened state. Yet God helped me write and publish a book about my experiences! Since there is no way at all I could have done that through my own power, it points people to God, bringing glory to Him.
As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.” Our purpose is to glorify God, and if our weaknesses help us in that endeavor, that turns them into strengths.
#3: Your weaknesses enable you to help others.
Everyone experiences weakness in their life. Even if it is simply that their strength is their weakness. So when you experience weakness of some kind, it teaches you to have compassion for the people around you.
It helps you relate to them and as you receive God’s grace for your weakness, it helps you to give grace to others
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)
Trust me, being able to relate to other people and give mercy in their weaknesses is an incredible strength to add to your arsenal. When other people see that you battle weakness as well, it prompts them to trust you and reach out to you.
If not for my chronic illness, there are many other chronically ill people that I would not have been able to meet, get to know, or help. But because I have experienced such weakness, I am able to bring hope and light into other’s weaknesses. You can too.
#4: Your weaknesses help you use your strengths most effectively.
When you have experienced weakness, it serves as a great reminder to value and grow your strengths. When you have had a strength become a weakness, it reminds you to nurture your strengths and use them well.
Because who knows when they might be taken away from you? You no longer take your strengths for granted.
#5: Your weaknesses protect you from pride.
Pride has always been one of my biggest struggles. But when I can’t do everything on my own or be perfect, it’s a lot harder to dwell in pride. When you constantly see how many failings you have and how much you are forced to rely on God, it forces you to take your eyes off of yourself.
Our weaknesses can protect us from more than just pride, they can also protect us from judging where it is not our place, becoming arrogant, and trying to take our lives into our own hands. Ultimately, helping us stand stronger and longer.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)
So today, I challenge you to take another look at your weaknesses. Write them all out on a sheet of paper. Then turn them over to God and watch what He will do through them. Your weaknesses might just turn out to be strengths.
What do you think?
What did you think of the guest post? Can you think of any other ways weaknesses are strengths?