Singles: Hide Your Heart this Valentine’s Day

My sweet friend Astin Sibbernsen is guest posting today on Poised Blog. I love her life and her walk with God! I felt her story would encourage the hearts of some single gals out there.   ~Terra

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has 1469950_10200945108965940_1691188009_nto seek Him just to find her.”    – Maya Angelou

Since June of this year I have been on a journey. It is a journey that has challenged, strengthened and changed me; it allowed me to learn new things about myself. In June, I pledged to change my focus away from my own desires and to focus solely on my relationship with God for six months. The challenge was brought to me by a dear friend, and she and I together have had the most incredible journey we could have ever imagined. The idea came from the amazing book by P.B. Wilson titled, Your Knight in Shining Armor.

The goal of the book is to allow God, not the world, to get you ready for your future husband.  The book encourages its readers to allow God to take control of their dating life, so the reader can stop torturing themselves over when, where, and how they will meet their future husband.  My friend and I vowed to put dating aside for six months to seek God and allow him to “reconstruct” us into the Godly women we are destined to be. I personally decided to make this pledge not because I have dated a lot, but because I felt I didn’t have my life fully placed in God’s hands. I will always have the struggle of giving the reigns over to God, (because I do have slight Type A tendencies) but these past couple of months have shown me how easy life is when you give it over to God. You don’t have to worry about school, job situations, and financial situations. God has it all planned out, he just wants us to give it over to him so he can blow our socks off.

As I reviewed the journal I have kept over the past six months, I am amazed at how much I have learned and changed. If you would have seen me before the journey you would have seen a girl who thought she knew what it meant to be a Godly woman. A girl who thought she had it all together and knew exactly what God wanted her to do. Well, looking back, I was completely wrong. This journey has allowed me to reflect on my gifts and talents, have peace with past situations, and realize how strong the power of prayer really is.  It has also taught me to pray with boldness and to meditate on God’s word night and day. This journey has also caused me to change a lot of things about myself. I changed what music I listen to as well as how I take care of my body because, “You reap what your sow” (Galatians 6:7). These changed needed to happen in order for me to be healthy: spiritually, mentally and physically.

Obedience to God through the Holy Spirit brings its own reward. It provides us with the opportunity to become more Christ like.”

I am twenty-three and have never really dated, so I am constantly hearing, “You are of dating age” and “What are you waiting for?”

Well, to answer this question specifically, I’m waiting on God.

During this season of waiting, God showed me how much I needed to change before I could commit to a Godly relationship; a relationship my heart (and I’m sure every young girl’s heart) longs for.

I believe God has allowed me to be single for many reasons. If I was in a relationship I might not have been able to make the time to go to Africa last September, earn straight A’s in my schooling or be able to focus on the plan God has for my life. If I was in a relationship before going through this 6 month experience, I would have easily put my boyfriend before God.  One thing this book has taught me comes from the scripture found in 1 Peter 1:6 which reads, “So be truly glad. There is much joy ahead, even though you have endured many trials for a while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies Gold.” This scripture gave me so much encouragement during the past 6 months. I’m being honest when I say that it wasn’t all that easy.

Sometimes we have to go through the valley to reach the mountain top. The past six months came with plenty of tears as I watched my friends go off with their boyfriends while I sat at home alone, but it was through this experience that God allowed my faith to grow. He tested me to make sure I was 100% committed to him. This waiting period had me trust and believe God that this experience would be meaningful. During these 6 months, God has blessed me in so many ways! I have been able to be a youth leader for my church’s Wednesday night youth program over the summer, pray for my dad when he was hospitalized, and I was initiated into the Educator Honors Society. I also haven’t had to worry about financial situations and I passed all of my teaching certification exams the first time!!!. This journey has given me a hunger for God’s Word like I haven’t ever had before. Yes, I had a hunger for God’s Word while at Passion (I mean who doesn’t….Louie is the best) but not like what I have now.

Since completing this journey, I feel I have been equipped with the right tools to be a godly girlfriend in a Christian relationship and I thank God for leading me through this journey because it has taught me so much about myself, but most importantly it has allowed me to experience God on a more personal and intimate level, one I haven’t ever experienced before. So, if you are in a relationship, fresh out of a relationship or like me, just not big into the dating scene, I encourage you to take this 6 month journey. Allow God to completely break you down and rebuild you as a powerful God filled woman.

“Fairy tales may not always come true, but God’s plan surely will.”

P.B. Wilson, Your Knight in Shining Armor 

New Year Thoughts: Cinderella in Reverse

By Terra Jones

NewYearsHow enticing it is to believe that when the clock strikes twelve I will transform into all that I am not, that I will possess the discipline I am lacking, and have enough tricks up my sleeve to manage my time so that life is finally under my control — my cravings, my emotions, my energy level…all mastered. Life will be good. When the clock strikes twelve, every bothersome quality about me will vanish. Cinderella in reverse- in a moment I will not run from my dreams, but toward them fully equipped. With a bippity boppity boo, I will not be deficient in any skill required in order to pursue my dreams.

I understand the exhilaration of a new beginning and the chance to set some things straight in life. There really is nothing like the commencement of a year, but I am not prancing ahead with copious commitments to change. I am not deceived any longer by fancies of speedy sanctification.

Don’t get me wrong. I have not dismissed hope for transformation or replaced a commitment to change with cynicism.  I have simply had enough “new years” in my life to know that change doesn’t come simply because I will it to be so, or because I have to buy a new calendar. I know how reality can knock us off our imaginary horses. You have probably been jarred into reality a time or two. You know what it’s like to pick yourself up from a hard fall. Don’t get back on the same old horse, as majestic as he may seem. If his name is Self-Effort, the same ending will ensue.

This year, let’s throw our saddle on the often overlooked steed- Dependency. He’s not glamorous, but he’ll get you through to the end. Isn’t that the goal?

I am convinced that the only way to learn dependence is through the pain of self-effort. It is a million little lessons learned in defeat that causes us to depend on God.

Remember though, that effort is not lost in dependency. Change does not come without effort – holy effort.

We are like Sarah, the bride of one of the great patriarchs of the faith, Abraham, who was unable to produce what she desired most. No, her body was unable to produce the promise of God, a child, whose name was Isaac. It was God alone who, when the time had come, birthed within her desire, which produced a holy effort. Even Sarah had to “take action” before the promise was born. Ultimately, it was intimate communion that produced the promise of God in Sarah. Communion, not our determined commitments, will produce God’s promises in our lives as well.

So, make your resolutions and take action, but do so as one who leans on God. Happy New Year!

“If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him!”  -Matthew Simpson

God is not Cool

By Lisa Lizotte

Jered and I started dating when we were sixteen. I don’t know how we came up with the money, but every year we would spend about $100 on each other for a Christmas present. A hundred dollars for a sixteen year old was a lot, and probably a third of a month’s income working just part time. Nonetheless we loved buying for each other, and we always looked forward to watching the other open our gift.

For our first Christmas together he purchased a gift certificate to get my windows tinted. About 15 years ago, when I first started driving, cars did not already come with tint on their windows. My parents passed down my mother’s Nissan Sentra to me, and of course my mom had not installed window tint. She faithfully wore sunglasses to deal with the sun’s brightness while driving, so window tint was not a priority. But as a teen trying to keep up with what was cool I had to have tint on the windows. And it had to be the darkest I could get within the limits of the law.

You can imagine my delight when I opened his long plain white envelope, after thinking he had gotten me a dud of a present, to find the gift certificate. He even made the appointment for me a couple days later. He was proving to be a very efficient boyfriend. I picked out the tint and left the car with the shop to return in an hour to pick it up. I was so excited. My car was going to be “cool.” Well as cool as a 1997 four door Maroon Nissan Sentra that your mom had passed down to you could be.

An hour had passed and it was time to complete the Christmas giving/receiving process. I was so thankful Jered had thought to do this for me. It would definitely go down in history as one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. We pulled up and there it sat with its very dark windows. The paint even looked better against the blackness. However, my excitement ended prematurely when I noticed that they had not removed the Calvin kneeling at the cross sticker. It was still stuck on the back of my window between the glass and the new tint! I asked why it hadn’t been removed and the employee simply stated she didn’t know if I wanted to keep it on there or not, so she just left it.

What in the world, I thought. What was she thinking? I have brand new tint on my car which is supposed to move me up in the coolness ranks and she makes my not so popular Jesus sticker permanent!

I was a Christian at the time and of course I loved Jesus, but I wanted to choose when I could be the kind of Jesus freak with the sticker on my car or the normal girl that just fit. With the permanence of the cross on my window I no longer had a choice. I could never hide Jesus when I went to school or anywhere else for that matter, at least not if it involved my car. And I would have to abide the speed limit for the rest of my life! If not, I would shame Christianity. And of course I couldn’t afford to have the window redone. I didn’t make a big deal about it publicly or to Jered for that matter. After all we had only been dating for a couple of months and I still wanted him to think I wasn’t high maintenance. So I kept my irritation to myself, but I was constantly reminded of the mistake each day as I looked in my rearview mirror.

The cross became a hindrance to me. I was embarrassed by it. I couldn’t cover it up. Even my church-going Christian friends weren’t extreme enough plant a Jesus sticker on the backs of their vehicles and certainly not one that was permanent! Ugh. My life was over. After all, I was on the homecoming court the previous year and had formed a clique of my own. This would surely derail my accent.

Let me tell you that not being able to hide Jesus was the best thing for me as a teenager. It wasn’t the sticker on my car that kept Him visible in my life, but the working of His Holy Spirit. God is not just a religious sticker or t-shirt. He is living and breathing and working to accomplish a great work. We are His great work.

Jered is the youth pastor for our church, but some of his most powerful statements have not come from the pulpit but from our home. Two weeks ago after laying the children down for the night and dealing with them for another 30 minutes to convince them to go to bed, he woefully said, “You give them all your time, all your money, and all your love and they grow up and tell you that you’re not cool enough for them.” I laughed, acknowledged the truth of his statement and went on about my business all the while, God was speaking to my heart. How much more do I do the same to Him? He gives me everything yet I’m too cool for Him. I can only talk about Him with people who know Him too. I should only wear the Jesus shirt when I’m doing a church activity or attending a concert. And it’s no longer necessary to ride around with a sticker on my car. Though I would never say this my actions say tell Him all the time, “You’re not cool enough for this right now.”

Currently, I do not have a tattoo and let me tell you the reason why I will never get one. They are permanent! It’s not like a piercing that if you grow old with you can just remove and let grow back. Tattoos are wherever you place them for the rest of your life. You must go through extreme measures to remove or cover up what has been etched into your skin. I’m not saying I think they’re evil. I’m just saying for me the commitment to have a picture on my body forever is too much. Do you know that if you are a Christian you are permanently tattooed? God has claimed your heart as His permanent residence and has written His name all over you. Though we try, He cannot be hidden. Though He is not popular, He will make Himself known.

I’ve had to learn that I’m not as cool as I think I am, and if the truth be told none of us are. Coolness is just our way of bringing more worth to ourselves or anyone else. It’s our minds way of dealing with the fact that we don’t fit in. You know what? We will never fit it. We’re not supposed to because we are not of this world. We belong to Jesus our home is in Him.

So instead of trying to hide Jesus because He’s not cool enough for your friends, your work, or your public life, boldly make the choice to “wear your sticker.” When you have the chance to talk about Him, boldly speak the truth. When you have an opportunity to be kind, show His love and compassion and give Him all the praise for it. And when His Spirit urges you to take a step of faith, take the step knowing that He has already went before you. God is completing His work in and through you. Do not be ashamed.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

More than Enough

By Lisa Lizotte

With Thanksgiving not long gone, Christmas is fast approaching. It is truly my most favorite holiday. Once the turkey has had a chance to digest, Christmas carols fill our home and the trees go up. All five of them! Yes, I know, it’s excessive but I just love spreading the spirit of Christmas to every possible space in our home. If it was acceptable to decorate the closets, I would.

But with all the excitement of the upcoming Christmas celebrations and traditions, I begin to feel my blood pressure rising.

Recently my children’s bedrooms have become a thorn in my side. No matter how many times I organize their toys, or despite my efforts to follow a chore chart to encourage cleanliness, their rooms stay in a less than desirable state. We just celebrated both of their birthdays and now here comes Christmas. There is absolutely no space to put another cleaning out toystoy. I thought to myself, there has to be a solution – some fancy way to organize these toys that I’m just not aware of. Then it hit me, I know exactly where to find it. Pinterest!

Off to the World Wide Web I went seeking the perfect answer to my dilemma. I found pin after pin of great ways to organize my kids’ toys. Most of what I found required cute fabric lined baskets, fancy chevron shelf paper, and compartmentalized shelving units. Frankly, it just looked like more work for me, which is definitely not the direction I wanted to go. If anything I wanted to be able to do less and put more of the cleaning responsibility on the kids. I was getting to the point where I just wanted to throw everything out.

Hmmm… there’s an idea.

Maybe I didn’t need a way to reorganize them, but I needed a strategy on how to clean them out (though I dreaded that route because my daughter is emotionally attached to every speck in her room).  I searched again, this time with a more specific question. Let’s try “cleaning out toys”. Lo and behold there were oodles of blogs with suggestions on how to clean out the mass!

The answer I found was so simple and pure. Minimalize. Supposedly, having less, children gain more. They are able to focus for longer periods of time when they are given minimal options. In my case, I just wanted them to focus a little because they have so much they end up playing with none of it. I’m typically their play toy, and they spend the majority of their time just following me around. So I thought why not give it a shot. Let’s purge what is excessive so we can keep our focus on more meaningful play.

In the next couple of weeks I’m planning what I call “The 2nd Great Depression.” I’m just kidding. I’ll probably do it when my daughter isn’t home or maybe little by little so she doesn’t notice. We’re going to put the “less is more” mentality into practice. I want us to get to a place where we feel we have more than enough. I want them to learn to be satisfied with a little.

You might be thinking I’m just a meanie of a mom expecting my little ones to be satisfied with less when they’re already used to having more than they need, but don’t you wish you were more satisfied with less and that life was a bit simpler? How can we be more satisfied having less or by having just enough? We must understanding that Christ is enough.

2 Corinthians 12:9 reminds me daily that His grace is sufficient for me and that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. We don’t always believe that His grace is enough. We think it’s too simple and too easy to just believe and be offered eternity. We think there must be more to it. So we add our spin to God’s pure and uncomplicated grace. We create hoops to jump through and when those hoops aren’t enough, we light them on fire. We also attempt to mold Christ to fit in. We want Him to be popular and in style in order to be more appealing to others. We become the potter and He becomes the clay. Pretty soon we’ve filled our “rooms” with so many extras that we lose focus. We spend more time doing little rather than little time doing more. By understanding that Christ is enough for us, and that nothing more needs to be added, we will become more satisfied with having less. The areas where we have more than enough can actually distract us the most.

So, in the next couple of weeks as you start cleaning out and begin living a more minimal lifestyle, turn your focus on the purity and simplicity of God’s grace. Have you stretched yourself thin doing too much? Have you said “yes” to some tasks because you thought no one else will? Have you fallen prey to Satan’s lie that Christ is not enough because His way is not popular? Have his lies caused you to feel unsatisfied, sending you on a never ending search for contentment through acquiring more stuff?

I can’t wait to see how my experiment turns out. I hope my toy troubles cease, but more than anything, I pray my children learn contentment. Let’s go ladies. Let’s get rid of what is more than enough so we gain a greater focus. Let’s clean out the clutter, both physically and spiritually.



Home Remedy #1: Laughter

By Lisa Lizotte

Good bye Monday. Goodbye to the day we stay in our cozy little corner of the world where my perfectly planned schedule of chores, schoolwork, and playtime run smoothly. Well, at least most of the time. Who am I kidding? I have three children under the age of five. “Smooth” is not found in our home vocabulary.

Oh, Tuesday. Here you are again. Tuesday is our homeschool co-op and run errands in town day, and the first day of the week my self-control begins to spiral downward. Co-op classes start promptly at nine, but I’m expected to arrive ten minutes early to welcome children who are two and under to my class at the nursery. Most Tuesdays I’m flying into the parking lot slinging gravel to new undisturbed places while other moms wait patiently as I shove my own children into the direction of their classes. Did I forget to mention that we also live 30 minutes away?

So, Tuesday mornings look a little like this: the children scarf down breakfast while I pull them in different directions putting on their clothes, which I expect them to put on themselves, all the while trying to feed a 7 month old who is teething. Once their shoes are on, I yell for them to get into the car at least ten times. At the last minute they brush their teeth, and I unbuckle my two year old son so he can “water the grass” to prevent any accidents on the way. I start the car and then attempt to run back into the house because I’ve forgotten my cell phone, grocery list, or some kind of important “mommy must have” only to realize I have locked the door. So I return to the car to get the keys to open the house. I quickly gather all that I need and return to the car. Phew! Oh by the way, “Good morning children. Jesus loves you and so do I.”

This morning I had the kids loaded and locked in car seats, deciding whether to use the heater or air conditioner in this crazy Florida weather, and attempted to find the nursery rhyme CD my children beg to listen to for the umpteenth time. Thankfully, I took time last night to make sure the diaper bag was well equipped for today’s outings, otherwise child #3 might have come home at the end of the day naked and hungry.

Diaper bag?


Kids pottied and buckled?


Cell phone? A must.




Kids happy and excited about what the day may bring? Does it matter? They’re alive aren’t they? Most outings with my children begin this way. Mommy losing it and striving the rest of the day to get it back.

You’re probably wondering, if it’s that bad just getting to the car, what’s it like on the way? Actually, I get into a zone. I’d call it my happy place. It’s usually just the first 30 minutes of a car ride because the children are usually content with the change of scenery. Today as I tried to tune out the noise coming from the backseat I was stirred out of the zone. I could hear the two voices of my oldest children laughing. I didn’t look back. Instead I just listened. Their laughter flooded my heart with happiness and a peace rushed over me. All the stress from screaming at them to listen, get ready, get in the car, and do this and that was gone.

I felt like I hadn’t heard their laughter in ages. Where have I been? They laugh all the time but in this moment, while listening to their laughter, I realized I was missing out. I was missing out on the fun. When did my life become more about completing my checklist of things to do and less about just enjoying it? I’ve browsed the internet and laughter facehave found websites and blogs reporting that children laugh around 300 times a day whereas adults laugh an average of 20 times a day. I can’t recall laughing 20 times yesterday. I recall most of my day was spent refereeing my children. When I do laugh, one of those long good ones, it is always followed with an “I needed that” type of response. If something feels so good why not do it more?

Now I know the Bible was divinely inspired, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever, but I wish its authors would have included more moments of humor and reports of laughter. We adults can be too serious and we need to learn how to lighten up. In Matthew 18:3 when Jesus said to turn from your sin and become like a little child so you can enter the kingdom of heaven, he was referring to their innocence. There’s just something about childhood innocence that we spend the rest of our adult life reminiscing upon. If you’ve been a grown up for any number of years you can attest that even Christmas celebrations are not like they were when you were a child. As children we have no reservations when it comes to expressing joy. It comes so easily. Then we grow up and evolve into our own ideas of what is mature and responsible. Some laughter is acceptable, but excessive amounts may deem a person a little on the coo-coo side.

I’m guilty of watching people joke around acting silly with their children, then roll my eyes embarrassed by them and think they need to be a little more mature. After all they are parents and when you become a parent you should act a like one. They are going to embarrass their kids one day just like my parents embarrassed me when I was going through those “I know all” teenage years. You know where that kind of thinking has gotten me? To a place of bitterness. And that bitterness has robbed me from enjoying the best parts of life. For me, it’s this crazy, fast paced, diaper changing, snot wiping, child training time when my children are at their best. Yes, it is their best so I’ve been told. Wish them older? Never! A little quieter and more reserved? All the time. But I don’t want to stifle the laughter their innocence offers.

An average of twenty laughs a day is pretty pathetic. My new goal is to laugh when they laugh. Try it with me. If you find it hard to do, laugh at yourself when you’re just trying to fake it. And if you’re in a season of life where you don’t have the company of little ones, plan a couple’s game night. I bet you won’t get through the evening without meeting your laugh quota. Lighten up my friend. Life’s too short not to laugh.

I’ll share one of my husband’s favorite jokes to get you started.

Why did Tigger look in the toilet?………………. He was looking for Pooh! Haha! Gotta love it!

Band Aid Therapy

By Lisa Lizotte

Being a mom, it’s not every day that I get to sleep in, but one Sunday my sweet husband rolled quietly out of bed, turned on the bathroom fan for white noise, shut the bedroom door, and was tending to the children. He was diligently serving them breakfast and getting them dressed for Sunday church as I was enjoying some much needed rest. About an hour before church, he sent our 18 month old son into our bedroom to awaken me out of dreamland with sweet little kisses. Suddenly this precious moment was abruptly interrupted. In all his excitement to see his mom, Peyton’s sharp baby-like fingernail found its way into my eye.

Instantly my eye became irritated, and it felt as though I had some sand or trash in it. I muddled through the house trying to get ready with just one well functioning eye. I only made it through ten minutes of Sunday school and had to retreat to the house. Thankfully we live in the pastorium across from the church, but it felt miles away. It was the beginning of June and the sun was piercingly bright which made it impossible to open my irritated eye. I walked home blind only opening my good eye every couple of yards to make sure I was still heading in the right direction. The rest of the day I felt completely handicapped because I was unable to perform any tasks. Opening my uninjured eye would still pull the muscles in my other eyelid so keeping both eyes closed was the only way to cope with the pain.

The following morning I called the eye doctor and made an appointment. I was completely dependent on my husband for everything. I couldn’t drive, take care of the children, or see where I was walking. My independence was gone. I felt like a child, which was very hard for me. Being a wife and mother I am used to standing on my own and meeting my family’s needs, but now I was the one in need.

The doctor informed me that my son’s fingernail acted as a tiny little “elf shovel” and basically scooped out a chunk of my eye. The reason I feltcontact bandage like there was sand in my eye was because every time I would open my eye, my eyelid would rip off any new growth that my eye was attempting to produce. To repair it I would have to wear a bandage contact lens until my eye healed itself. It took about a week to heal and to get to the point that I could use my eye without any irritation. That was a hard week, and I wasn’t used to being out of service.

Six weeks later I reinjured my eye by rubbing it a little too much out of tiredness. This time the doctor told me that my eye would never be the same and that I will always have to baby it. The only alternative is surgery. Doctors would have to remove the entire layer that is damaged and allow my eye to create a completely new layer instead of just filling in the gouge.

The doctor was right about my eye never being as it once was. It’s been over a year since the incident and I still have to be mindful of rubbing it too hard. Every morning I have to get it used to being open and every so often I have to put a night cream in it. Two weeks ago the same son rolled off our bed, gashed his chin on my bedside table, and woke us up screaming and bleeding. Because of the sudden awakening my eye was unusable. I was helpless in my efforts to attend to my poor son and horror came to my husband as he dealt with both our crises. I thought I had reopened the gouge once again, but thankfully I awoke the next morning with my eye unaffected by the middle of the night catastrophe.

Thankfully, through all of this my vision has been unaffected, but my eye is no longer flawless. Like my eye, God created us perfect and unblemished, but we chose to sin. It is through our sin that we become wounded and scarred. Our sin creates holes and those holes affect our ability to bring Him glory. We even have faulty areas that we’re not aware of and when the time is right He brings them to our attention, then we have to choose how to deal with them. Some of us patch the holes with work. We focus our work on trying to make ourselves better, or at least appear better. But the injuries are still there—the hurt from relationships, the feeling of failure or lack of appreciation, hidden or unconfessed sins, or just the pressure we put on ourselves to meet our own standards. Being women we like to hide behind our fancy little Band-Aids instead of allowing God to take off the damaged layer and build something new. My Band-Aid is busyness, and if I stay busy I can ignore the problem and conceal the wounds— the emptiness, loneliness, fear, guilt, judgment, and criticalness to name a few. My Band-Aid gives me comfort because I’m too afraid to commit to the pain that may come with exposing my weakness to God. I’m too afraid that the rehabilitation process will be slow and put me out of commission. I just want a quick fix.

Even though I know it will provide the best results, I hope eye surgery can be avoided. Unfortunately, by not choosing the path that will bring complete healing I will always have to deal with having a dysfunctional eye. Thankfully God is the ultimate surgeon, and we can stop just dealing with our present sins and the guilt of past sins and accept the healing our Savior provides. Whatever you are covering with your temporary Band-Aids expose it to God and allow Him to heal you. The process may be slow but there’s no greater feeling than restoration and freedom.

Significant Weakness

By Terra Jones

girl passed out at computer

I’m concerned about women today, especially women who are ensnared by a “do all, be all” mindset. While I believe women are amazing creatures, I doubt that they are superhuman. Truly, someone must tell them so. In conquering the world, I’m afraid they may be losing their ability to bring comfort and calm into the world, mainly to their own homes and families. I have fallen captive to the push of the world to do or die recently, and I have to say that all the doing felt a lot like dying. In an attempt to keep it all together, I was losing it (in more ways than one). I’m all about working hard, reaching goals, and fulfilling your potential in life. I am currently pursuing some goals I had put on the back burner, but I have learned that I am limited. I have weaknesses. I have limitations…and that’s okay.

In Scripture, God purposely exposes the weaknesses of those he used mightily. Through this unveiling, he teaches us that it is a good thing to be aware of our frailties. We are usually very busy proving to everyone just how competent we are, but since God desires truth in the inner parts, we should be careful to gaze into his Word and allow him to bring us back from our erroneous ways. When we compare ourselves to other people we may or may not measure up, but when we compare ourselves to God we never do. This is the place he desires us to be. When our short comings blind us like one gaping into the sun, we tend to cower back until by our own estimation we are approved, but brokenness allows you to judge yourself correctly by what God has revealed, and then continue in the grace of God. Once we are at that very lowly place where we are completely convinced that we are of no use to God, he lifts us up and pours out his grace. We see this lowliness in the life of Moses. He was one man in Egypt, but on the other side of that desert, after meeting with God, we see a different man. He was a humble man suddenly sobered by the presence of God. In the New Testament Paul writes about having a proper view of ourselves:

Romans 12:3
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

At the heart of the matter is the fear that our own weaknesses will make us insignificant, so we are in a constant state of trying to convince ourselves and others that we are strong, capable individuals. It is a shame that we are so afraid of our own insignificance. It is really a valuable thing. A statement made by Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Parenting has shaken me to the core. He says, “Our so-called search for significance is often a very dangerous attempt to steal some of God’s glory. We may make our lust for recognition sound angelic- wrapping our ambition in kingdom-building terms-but at the root it becomes a demonic exercise to use God’s gifting in order to make ourselves seem important.”

Jesus showed another way. He made himself “less” and became a humble servant. As Messiah, he never sought to bring glory to himself, but to the Father. (Recall also that he never degraded himself either. This is not humility and does not bring glory to God.) God knows our human condition, and this is why he agirl on her kneesllows us to be broken – to experience our own weaknesses; he knows there is great power in embracing them. God refused to remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” He knows that weakness is useful; it keeps us humble and ever before him. Coming face-to-face with our frailty can be disturbing, but it is often the nudge we need in order to move from a prideful posture of self-sufficiency to a soul-clinging reliance on our strong creator. When we transfer our reliance from self to God, we find the sweet rest that scripture promises. The soul will wearily roam until it finds its resting place in the strong arms of the Father.

I have often heard it said (and have said it myself), that in going to our places of worship, we should go with an eagerness to give and not to take. Those who go to church only to receive from God have been reprimanded and labeled consumers. I do not condone spiritual slothfulness; it is undoubtedly unapproved by God. We should use our gifts to serve one another, building up the body of Christ. I would just like us to consider the fact that no one has anything to offer God other than what has come directly from his hand in the first place. God needs nothing, but we need an awful lot. We should humbly enter our places of worship as people who live by his sustaining power. Until we go to our church services to get from God, we cannot go to give. We even have to go into our private devotions to get, before we can give. What do we get? We get truth, perspective, strength, wisdom, encouragement, peace (need I go on?). We can’t give what we do not have. We come to God in weakness.

Let me clarify that weakness is not the same as sin. Author Wendy Ulrich defines weakness as “limitations on endurance, judgment, wisdom, energy, skill, resilience, or physical capacity.” She continues, “Human weakness sets us up to fail at important tasks because we lack experience, training, or understanding. Human weakness means we will hurt other people out of ignorance, misunderstanding, or insecurity. . . . Weakness can lead to sin, but weakness in itself is not sin. . . . God is patient and tolerant with human weakness, yet He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”

Perhaps God is waiting to pour out his strength on those who know they need it. The one who busts through the doors of the church loaded with all he is going to give to God, needing not to receive anything, is one who has yet to come to the end of himself.  The woman who sees a daily devotion as a way to prove her maturity as a Christian has missed the mark by miles. This sort of self-sufficiency always has an end. It will only take you so far. You see, our resources are more limited than we realize and we often overextend, allowing the push of life and unrealistic expectations of ourselves to run us into the ground – the epitome of weakness. God will wait for you though; he is painfully patient. He will be waiting there to lift your face from the dirt when you hit the ground, but there is a better way. Face your frailty today. Look it right in the eye and call it what it is – significant weakness. Our weaknesses are significant because they are the place where God displays his power while denying us the credit. Relief and rest visits those who take pleasure in the fact that they don’t always have to have it together and realize they never truly do. So, you can strive without God, overly certain of your own strength, or soar with him in dependency and weakness. It’s entirely up to you.

Verses to chew on:

1 Corinthians 1:27
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

2 Corinthians 12:9
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.