Friday, September 21, 2007

the problem with bootstraps

I'm not a fan of streaks when I feel like I am posting only pictures, but I have felt a little speechless lately. Yes, I have been busy as well, and there has been little spare time for pausing to compose any sort of profound post. But more than busyness, it has been the heaviness of heart, the whirlwind of thoughts in my mind, that has made me a woman of few written words.

Any writer knows, there is a sort of nakedness when one comes to an empty page. Sometimes it is a refuge, a place to write the myriad thing you are dying to say. Sometimes it is scarier than that. Sometimes we know that nakedness of the unwritten words will call us to name a darkness--a barren place--that we would rather let linger, anyonymously and unacknowledged, somewhere in the back of our minds.

In my life, there is a certain place of weakness that causes me to panic a little. A fairly intense fear of abandonment kicks in, and my mind begins screaming, "Pick yourself up! Snap yourself out of it! And do it quickly, or you'll find yourself alone." Of course, we can't always do that. We aren't always strong enough to pull ourselves up by our proverbial bootstraps. Right now, I don't feel like I can even find my bootstraps. Maybe not even my boots.

When, in desperation, I picked up 2 Corinthians 4 one day and started to read a passage my heart knows well, I was reminded of a great truth: God is made great in my weakness. We talk about that a lot, but it is a very different thing to embrace it when one feels painfully, embarrasingly, helplessly weak. We'd rather proclaim that truth from the pulpit than be found clinging to its ankles when the world has knocked us to our knees.

Ultimately, as I realize the truth of it all, I see that it comes down to a matter of what I want my life to say. If I want others to be astounded at me--"Look at that amazing girl, the way she picks herself up and walks with strength"--then I'd better start looking for my boots and take a hold of the straps. But if I want my life to be a testimony to God's goodness--"Look at that girl. God shows himself so strong in her life."--than the call is to stop squirming, stop striving, and embrace my weakness. God calls me to relax myself into it, and to turn my face in surrender toward his great glory and strength.

I think of a song I've been listening to, speaking of the fear to be weak: "But I guess I was wrong. I should have known all along: when I'm weak, you are strong in me...My deepest point of need is the better part of me, because when I'm weak you are strong in me."

The kingdom of God is paradoxical, isn't it? Turns out, in that topsy turvy kingdom, that the greatest strength I have to give is the true offering of my weakness. The greatest thing I can offer anyone is the strength of the God I love.

I'd say that's a good thing. After all, I don't like boots much anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like that you bare your soul (or is it sole), you flip-flop girl.