Feeling less-than has always been the story of my life. It’s not that I was facing serious setbacks, like a disability or dire financial straits (and kudos to anyone who’s killing it in life despite that, you guys are the real troopers). Rather, it was the little things that started adding up:
From young, I was the emo kid (unlike my brother, who, apparently, was the happiest baby ever—our parents claim they could count the number of times he cried with one hand).
Then in high school, I did badly in Math and Science no matter how hard I tried. Somehow, being good at languages and the humanities didn’t matter. Those subjects were usually considered “worthless” and weren’t well-valued in our education system.
To top it off, I grew up with a slouching habit that felt so hard to break. “The hunchback of Notre Dame is here,” my classmate in 3rd grade once whispered when I walked into class (I’m sure he meant no malice but it stung anyway).
And girls, you might relate to this one: I also never used to feel beautiful because of my thick thighs and frizzy hair.
My lack of self-esteem also led me to believe that I couldn’t speak well and would never ace any interviews, much less do any form of public speaking.
At this stage of my life, many of these things affect me a lot less now, thanks to God, who’s taken me on a journey of rediscovering my worth and ability in Him.
I’m now a writer (and proud of it) who can embrace my softer, emotional side (which I used to see as a paralyzing weakness), who is way more comfortable with the skin I’m in. This year, I conducted two classroom lessons for middle school children while on a mission trip to Cambodia—not bad for someone whose knees literally used to shake during class presentations.
And if there’s anything I’ve learnt along the way, it’s this: Magnifying your weaknesses (till it crushes every last sliver of your self-esteem) will only doom you to sink deeper into them.
We can’t choose how talented or good-looking we are, but we can choose what we magnify every time we’re confronted with a fresh weakness or failure. Will you add every disappointment you have with yourself to your mental list of not-good-enoughs and think, “This is how it’s always gonna be”, or will you magnify what the Lord says about your weaknesses instead?
And this is what He says in 2 Cor. 12:9 (AMP) (my favorite verse growing up):
…but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”
Did you know that the word ‘power’ in this verse is dynamis in the original Greek, and dynamis refers to God’s power for performing miracles, among other things?
Ever been stunned when the most nervous student in class manages to deliver a great speech? Or an introvert with journalist dreams—that everyone thought would never succeed—actually does well on her newsroom internships (both me)? Now that’s a glimpse of God’s miracle-working power. And I’m glad that what I saw as my weaknesses shows forth His strength, grace and undeserved favor in my life.
The Christian life is really about discovering more of your weaknesses, but also discovering that God’s strength will overcome and swallow up every one of them. Know what one of the translations of “perfected” in 2 Cor. 12:9 is? It means to “add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling just a little, moderately, or really lacking today. God can fill you up to full with His strength.
So whether you relate to my story, or you’re struggling with far more crippling setbacks—will you see your weaknesses the way God sees them: Not liabilities, but areas where His power can be shown most effectively?
Check out these stories in the Bible where God does that, time and again. Although we won’t always see immediate, flourishing victories every time we remind ourselves of His strength (#keepinitreal), we do get one step closer to success in the process.
Today, I pray you’ll start seeing how your less can be so much more with the Lord. 🙂