Famously, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says that he will boast in his weaknesses because Christ's strength is made perfect in them, and we all look at Paul with adoring eyes and cheer him on for such strength and depth in words so profound! But then we return to our lives and subconsciously question his sanity. In what world am I to be proud of the things that make me a failure?? This is not a part of anything I have learnt growing up!
Our weaknesses, our failures, our black spots. We don't want those on display for all the world to see. I mean, that's why we've invented makeup, base, eyeliner, photoshop, corsette's, gel, hairdye, black tshirts, plastic surgery, liposuction, teeth-whitening, Facebook profiles...things to put our best selfie forward. And when that all fails we make sure we're sucking it in, covering it up, distracting from, or ... ugh ... dieting. We're striving for an ideal that has been dangled in front of us like a carrot on a stick. And it is purposefully out of reach.
But this isn't about the production of a consumerism society. This is about our embracement of our faults. Our differences.
When I was in my earlier years, one of the perks of having a sister four years older than me with a type-A personality was being called upon to make certain fashion judgement callls. And one summer, an issue of some magazine obviously printed the idea that after you've put your outfit on, the first thing that someone else notices must be taken off, because it doesn't fit. This was my job. I was to assess my sister's outfit and tell her what I noticed first. The shoes, the scarf, the jersey...or was it all one seemless stitch of style that slipped over her like snow on the Swiss tree-tops. This is how most of us approach our life in general, isn't it?
So arriving here in Brazil, a gaping hole in our ministry dreams and efforts was a towering, screaming, obstacle named English. I have been fighting this obstacle, tooth and nail. Putting off any efforts to advance relationships until I had adequately learnt the native tongue. That is until an opportunity arose.
It turns out that the very group of people that I've been trying to reach here and encounter are intriguingly keen to learn English. They want to understand the strange murmurings of these holywood stars, and these musicians blaring through their ipods. So my girlfriend and I gladly offered to teach them as much English as their wonderfully innocent hearts desired! An incredible doorway into the lives of the teenagers I had been intimidated by because of my embarrassing language skills.
So there I stood facing the monsterous obstacle that I had been fighting for two months with a smile on my face and a thank you in my hands. I stood back as I led the way for this weakness to rise up to the top of my portrait and allowed it to manipulate it's way into my list of greatest assets.
Maybe our differences are there for a reason. Maybe we need to reassess the things that we believe are holding us back in order to advance in all glory with their prominance as our fuel!
Maybe His strength is made perfect in our weakness.