I grew up as an athlete and experienced so many different types of coaching styles. I had coaches that thought the world of me and so I wanted to perform well for them so they would continue to like me. Then I had coaches that based their decisions on how well I played, so I HAD to perform well for them in order to get any playing time. Throughout my experiences as an athlete, though, one thing always remained the same, and that was that I couldn’t show weakness. “Suck it up. There’s no crying in sports. Rub some dirt in it” were all phrases I had heard endlessly. This was when my tainted idea of weakness began.
I had this longing to be strong that continued as I graduated high school and entered college and still lingers even after college and into graduate school and my vocational life. I never wanted anyone to see me stress and my breakdowns always happened in private. If I showed even a bit of imperfection, embarrassment and the feeling of weakness quickly took over. Ultimately, I was hiding behind this mask of invincibility and refused to accept the fact that perfection is impossible.
As I continued to make perfectionism a lifestyle, it also seeped into my life as a Christian. How many of you have fallen into this crazy theory that Christians must always have it altogether? You can’t let anyone see you crumble or mess up or you’re no longer considered a good Christian. One of the most important lessons for me to learn was to allow myself to be broken in Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." There’s my answer: Boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that he power of Christ will rest upon me. As I reflect on this verse and what it means in my life, it is apparent that grace has been such a blessing in my life but something that was always so hard for me to accept. Not only could I not accept it from the Lord, but I couldn't accept it from people around me either.
God says it plain and simple, though, “My grace is sufficient for you.” He will never run out of grace for me and the mistakes I have made and will make in the future. “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Do I want to be responsible for keeping His power from being made perfect? I don’t think so. Weakness is no longer something to hide and striving for perfectionism is rejecting God’s grace. How dare I reject such a wonderful gift from our Lord? This is still a work in progress in my life. Accepting other’s grace for me and my mistakes has been an important first step and has led me to continue to accept God’s grace in my life as well. I no longer avoid that feeling of weakness, but have changed my way of thinking and realized that when I am weak, God‘s power is being made perfect in my life. That’s pretty exciting!