We like so much to be seen as strong. I know that I certainly do. Our culture elevates those seen as capable, strong, and independent, and we tend to view these traits as the epitome of success. Oftentimes we even begin to see these things as the righteous way to be. People who show weakness aren’t admired, therefore they must not be as morally good. Being vulnerable is treated as a shame. But is this really the way God made us to be? Does He call us to self-sufficiency and independence from needing the help of others?

The Go-to Gal

Several years ago I decided to pursue adoption and become a single mom. I knew that it could challenge and stretch me in many ways. But there was no way to prepare myself for just how much motherhood would give my pride a complete (and painful) pounding.

In that distant land of pre-motherhood, I loved being the person who was always on time. The overachiever who showed up early for work, ate lunch at my desk, and stayed late if needed. I prided myself on being the “go-to gal” both at work and in my personal life: someone everyone else could rely on to get the job done. I’m sure if you had asked, I would have said something pious like it’s only through God that I can be so organized and “put-together”. But the pride I felt about the way others saw me reveals the true state of my heart.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we can safely say that I am no longer that “go-to gal”. I’m late a lot more frequently. The level of messiness in my house makes my chest tighten with anxiety on a regular basis. I’m not the supermom that other women come to for advice. Sometimes I feel like all I do is make mistakes. Some might say that I’m kind of a hot mess these days.

The Hot Mess

But here’s the actual truth: I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A HOT MESS. I haven’t really changed – it’s not that I used to be perfect and now I’m less so. The truth is I am seeing myself clearly for the first time. Right now it’s visible, but the truth is that it’s always been there. I needed to stop putting this image of “put-together woman” on a pedestal in my life. I still frequently fight the pull towards mourning that “put-together” woman I used to be and longing to be “better at life”.

The older I get, the more I see how little control I actually have in the world. While the human instinct is to recoil from the idea of no control, I’ve found it to be incredibly freeing. I am not in control — God is. I’m not strong — God is. I don’t have all of the answers — God does. What a blessing to be still for a moment and glory in the fact that God has got this under control. He doesn’t need all of my fretting, hand-wringing, and anxiety. He instead asks that I give Him my trust, love, faithfulness and my life. Turn it over to Him and follow rather than continuing to struggle while I foolishly try to take the lead.

God doesn’t ask me to be “better” at life. He asks me to be better at love, faith, and hope. He asks me to be better at doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him. The God of the universe is not interested in my petty image. He is interested in molding my heart to follow Him. Part of that is embracing the fact that I am weak. Any goodness I have comes from Him, not from myself. Not from my organizational skills or my punctuality or my resume.

His grace is sufficient for me

His grace is sufficient.

I need to humble myself in the knowledge of my own weakness. I need to praise God daily for his mercy and grace on a weak and undeserving person like myself. Then I need to remember the depths of His love and the abundant mercy He’s shown to me, and take delight in showing it to others. When I love God better and love my neighbors better, it really doesn’t matter if my life looks picture perfect. I will make mistakes, but in acknowledging my own weaknesses, I can embrace the fact that anything good is coming from God, not from me. This takes so much pressure off! When I can sit in my weakness and thank God for His strength, all the credit for any fruit goes where it should be – to HIM.

Don’t get me wrong- I still want to be better. However, I’m learning that the only way to do that is to stop focusing so much on myself, to be humble in admitting my own limitations, and submitting to God for any results.

My weakness reminds me that I need God in every aspect of my life. It reminds me that I need community and fellowship in order to grow. When we put on false appearances of “having it all together,” our neighbors sometimes forget that the fruit we bear comes from Christ and not us. But when I boast in my weakness, everyone remembers that anything good they see in me is only through Christ – placing the glory where it is truly due.

“If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”

‭‭II Corinthians‬ ‭11:30‬ ‭NASB‬‬