The Key to Finding Strength When You Feel Weak

When it comes to the hustle and power moves of my peers, I just can’t compete. While they’re off growing careers, raising families, volunteering, and serving on the mission field, I’m just hoping to string coherent words together and walk around the block.

As much as I fight to stay strong, the truth is I’m sick. My mental real estate is spent managing pain, energy levels, brain fog, and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. So when my reality doesn’t reflect my calling to be part of God’s mission on earth, I feel bad. Guilty. Unsuccessful. Like I’m letting God down.

These days, when God invites me to partner with Him, I politely decline because I know someone else can do it better. Play it safe and stay within your limits, I tell myself. To avoid the sting of failure and embarrassment, I take my seat on the bench or just quietly see myself out.

My growing list of fears and failures over the years rendered me last picked for the team.

Or so I thought.

In a world that celebrates strength and striving to the top, it’s easy to see weakness as a limitation in the Kingdom of God.

I’d developed the habit of approaching Kingdom work much like I would a job interview. I’d bring my strengths and gifts to the table, offering to utilize them to the best of my ability. Eager for my God-given assignments and tasks, I’d pull up my sleeves and get to work. But as time went on, I ran ragged. My physical and mental challenges soon left me feeling useless and ashamed. Answering God’s call with an “ok, I’ll take it from here” attitude wasn’t working long term.

Because God’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way.

God doesn’t unlock our potential or help us capitalize on our strengths so that we transform into super-humans achieving anything He calls us to do. He doesn’t dish out gifts and callings so we can be the best version of ourselves, for His glory.

When I view strength as my primary means to success, human frailty becomes a flaw that needs fixing. A vulnerability to be hidden. A barrier to living my best Christian life.

I despise my weakness and fight to remain strong because I think that’s the best way to be successful, productive, or useful to God. But I was wrong. My grief over the years about what I’d lost had clouded my view.

In the Kingdom of God, our mode of operation is counter cultural. God’s power works primarily through weakness, not strength. Through common vessels, not polished ones. In God’s economy, the last are first. The empty are filled. The poor are blessed. The lowly are lifted up. (2 Cor 12:9; 2 Cor 4:6-9; Matt 20:16)

When God partners with people, He doesn’t pick the most pretty or powerful. Instead, He invites the barren, the fearful, the outcast, the teenager, the fishermen, the tax collector, the zealot, the sick (Gen 18:13-14; Judges 6:14-16; Luke 6:13-16). God often chooses the unexpected and dismissed of this world.

In the book of Galatians, Paul shares that his ministry in Galatia came to pass – not through a famous name, hard work, or wealth – but through an illness.

Like many of us, the church in Corinth expected the Christian life to be attractive, powerful, and profitable. They viewed God’s power and work through the lens of their own bias.

But Paul was often sick, meek, weak, and afflicted (2 Cor 1:8-9; 11:24-30). He experienced one life-threatening event after the other. These were the grounds the Corinthians used to question his faith and dismiss him as ineffective. Yet the Apostle Paul was arguably one of the most influential and successful believers of all time. It was from his position of weakness and affliction that God mightily worked and expanded His Kingdom in the most powerful way.

Sometimes the most undesirable and miserable of situations is when God’s best work is most powerfully displayed. Whether it’s from a sickbed or a cross.

For believers, weakness is not our enemy but our greatest ally. Only from a position of dependence and humility can we fully rely on God and partner with Him in His work. If humility and repentance are required for salvation, then human effort and strength cannot be the key to transformation or doing God’s work.

The Christian life is supernatural. It can only be achieved by Christ alone. God is the creator, author, and finisher of His work in this world. It’s His power, His mission, His glory. He is the hero and main character of our story (1 Pet 4:11).

The beauty of God’s Kingdom is that Jesus knows our frame and calls us anyway. He understands that we are human and can sympathize with our weaknesses (Ps 103:14; Heb 4:15). God invites us to join Him in what He’s already doing without asking us to be capable, talented, healthy, or smart.

If we want to follow Jesus, we must keep surrendering our worldly view of strength. When I despise the parts of me that are weak and needy, I reject the very way in which God chooses to work. When I fight to remain strong, I may be stifling the Holy Spirit’s power in me.

You don’t have to be capable or living your best life for God to work in and through you. You can simply come as you are – weak, needy, anxious, or broken – because God empowers those He calls. His grace and strength are sufficient for the mission. For it is “not by might, nor by power, but by God’s Spirit” that the Lord will accomplish whatever He calls us to do (Zech 4:6).


2 thoughts on “The Key to Finding Strength When You Feel Weak

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this!! I have had two thoughts lately: only God is infinitely valuable, and human effort is odious to God. They go together- we can not possibly please God with our own strength and efforts apart from Christ because He is Holy, Holy, Holy! (Isaiah 6). Because He is infinitely valuable, our weakness and suffering is worth it because that’s how He is displayed best in our lives! Praying we are furiously obsessed with Jesus beauty and friendship and presence with us every day!!


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