I want you to stop and consider your shortcomings. Sounds like a weird way to start a blog, I know. But it shouldn’t take you very long. We are usually painfully aware of all our flaws and failures. Our inner critic has the list ready to go at a moment’s notice. So here’s your moment’s notice.
I’m not asking you to do this in order to make you feel bad about yourself or to play the role of Debbie Downer.
No, I want to do the opposite actually. I want to take an honest look at these weaknesses and consider why they are there and why they won’t go away.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7–10, Paul refers to his flaws as a thorn in his flesh. He asked Jesus to remove this thorn three separate times and always got the same answer: NO. When he asked Jesus why, this is the answer he received: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Stop and consider that.
Jesus wouldn’t remove Paul’s flaws because He saw these “thorns” as opportunities to lavish His grace and power upon Paul. It turns out that what we view as thorns in our side, as chinks in our armor, as potholes in our otherwise happy lives, are actually openings for Jesus to come in and give us more of His grace and power.
Paul recognizes how amazing this is in the very next verse:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
He goes from begging Jesus to remove his thorns to now celebrating them. Why? Because he went from seeing them through human eyes to seeing them through Jesus’ eyes. All of a sudden, he realized that his weaknesses are opportunities to have more of Jesus’ power and grace manifest in him and through him.
We share in that opportunity.
All of those shortcomings that I had you list out are all opportunities. They are all openings for you to experience more of Jesus in yourself and in your life. Because of that, you can join Paul in gladly boasting about your weaknesses. You, too, can find contentment with your “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
So, instead of looking at all your flaws and imperfections and considering them as the source of all that’s wrong in your life or deeming them the disqualifications for being closer to God, flip your perspective.
Don’t board them up and hide them away. Give them to God. Open up about them and let His power shine through. Watch Him show up and do something amazing; something that you could never have done on your own.
That doesn’t mean we go and try to develop more weaknesses and shortcomings. It means that we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by or limited by our thorns. It means that we don’t allow them to hold us back from walking out our purpose. It means embracing what Paul ultimately realized: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
About Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Miller, MAR, MA, LPC is a Christian pastor, professional counselor, and author of No Longer Two: A Guide to How God Created Men, Women, and Marriage. For over a decade, she has been combining her expertise in psychology and theology to help individuals, couples, and families both in private practice and in ministry, as well as through her writing, speaking, and teaching.
She is the co-founder and Co-Executive Director of The Center for Living Well, a nonprofit Christ-centered wellness ministry dedicated to helping people live well and love God. She regularly leads classes, workshops, and retreats on a wide range of topics including faith and relationships. She is also a Master-level Christ-Centered Yoga Leader at the Center.
Jennifer is one of the new co-hosts on Heart and Soul with Jory Fisher. You can listen to her with Jory the second and third shows of the month starting in October.