Have you been struggling and yet feet pressured to say that you’re just “fine” when someone asked the perfunctory “how are you?” after their greeting? I know I sometimes wonder, why are you bothering to ask me if you don’t even care to pause a moment to listen to my answer. I am not always fine. And I don’t want to pretend to be. I want to be honest about wherever I am and whatever I’m going through. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t even have to sound good. WOW! Has that ever been a tough lesson to learn!
I have always figured that people would never want to talk to me if I was in any way “problematic”. And since I always have been, guess who took it upon herself to make them all disappear?
I thought I was serving others by doing this. I thought they would thank me for making sure I was just plain “normal” all the time, but no one did. Obviously they did not see the effort I went to to keep this up. So, I developed another strategy: I would be the constantly happy person. I would never be without encouragement for others. I determined I must always be able to totally forget myself (and whatever difficulties I had in the present) before I went out. I could never afford to be a downer; instead, I derived my identity from being a constant upper–even raising the “levels” of others when possible.
This seemed to work pretty well–better than expected, actually. But, I began to notice that I was never able to get the help I needed while I was so busy deflecting everyone’s attention from my needs to my joys and their needs. I thought this was a good thing, until God really began to sit me down and make me understand that I am HUMAN.
This may sound funny, but I’ve never really known that. I either felt that I was worth nothing because I was weak and broken, or I was superhuman because I could transcend everything and be absolutely strong and composed. Certainly I knew nothing of the fact that both weakness and strength, brokenness and openness are present within everyone of us as human beings. The secret is having them balanced.
Christ brings that balance. At the cross both aspects of my identity are represented. I who was once strong, have been weakened in my rebellion against God. And it is now as I confront my weakness brought on by sin and my inheritance of the Fall, that Christ resurrects my potential for strength; strength that does not lead me away from Him, but is able to stay and wrestle with Him until His spirit of grace and surrender overpowers me.