Just a while ago, I called myself a jerk. It was during my quiet time.
Wait. Should I call that a quiet time? Maybe not. I was just sprawled on my bed, notebook in front of me, pen in my hand, and negative thoughts raging inside my mind. I’d been frustrated by a lot of things: being defined by my peers at school by my grades, trying to find answers about my current ‘ministry-less’ and ‘church-less’ state, and other personal stuff.
So I started writing these out to God. I remembered how I always tell the people I have fellowship with to always be honest to Him ALWAYS. That’s what I did, and called myself a jerk, a freak, and a useless fool in the process.
I was angry with myself, but as I stared at the furious handwriting in my notebook, I realized that those weren’t true about me. My thoughts about my ‘stagnancy,’ my ‘unworthiness,’ my ‘stupidity’ and all other pessimistic thoughts were just exaggerations. I know right there and then that my Dad had been telling me that I was making a big deal out of small imperfections, that I was merely overrating my feelings.
Am I a jerk, a freak, a fool? Am I useless, unworthy, stupid, insufficient? At some point, at a certain degree, yes, but are these what defines me? Do my imperfections, my mistakes, my ordinariness, my failures make up who I am? They’re not, and they don’t.
That’s because Jesus is. He was. And He will be. It’s because He came for me. It’s because He has placed Himself at the very center of my life, which was empty, directionless, and wrong, and took over. The mistakes I made, the failures I’d experienced, and the weaknesses and blemishes I see all loses their impact and power because Jesus is Lord over my life. His love covered them all, and His love is what is covering and carrying me now.
I remember what the Apostle Paul said: “I glory over my weaknesses because when I am in weak, then I am strong.” It is in my weakness that Christ’s strength and power is perfected. Well this means that Jesus is there in my weaknesses, He is with me even when I’m at the very bottom, He covers me even at the highest point of humiliation. It was because of my weak state that He chose to come down from heaven and take my burdens from me. It was because I cannot do it that He promised all of Himself to be available for me. This is grace, and I understand now why Paul rejoiced even though it seemed inappropriate at times.
It is in my weakness that I can see who God really is. Although it is frustrating to see ourselves fail when we depend on our strength, this only teaches us that every time and every circumstance calls for dependence on God only. We don’t have to trust ourselves. We only need to trust Him– Him who loves us and is willing to work through us, regardless of our past, and present scruples. This is Jesus, and through His work in our lives, we learn how we really should see ourselves. Graced all over, inside and out.