April 26, 2018
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
"Walk across if you have ever been a bully." As I reflected on these words, I hesitated.
My colleagues and I were participating in a "walk across" activity. Alarmed by the unkind verbal exchanges she'd overheard in our school, our principal asked the school counselor and social worker to lead us in an activity to promote empathy and harmony.
Forming a wide circle, we faced each other as we were presented with a variety of scenarios such as:
Walk across (the circle) if ...
... you have a friend at the school.
... you have ever felt unattractive.
Up to this point in the exercise, I had confidently and without hesitation walked across whenever I identified with a statement. But a bully? Me?
Often in my past, particularly as a young girl, I lashed out at others with careless, caustic words that created deep wounds in people. Still, I wondered: Did being mean with my words constitute being a bully?
So I waffled. Almost immediately, I felt the Spirit gently nudge me to walk across.
As I obeyed God's prompting and started my walk, I looked around. Although in many of the scenarios several staff members had walked across the circle, for this one, only a few of us did. Suddenly I felt very visible - and very vulnerable.
As we continued the exercise, people were visibly moved. A few began to sob openly. Others were subdued and solemn.
But me? I was swimming in a sea of self-doubt and second thoughts.
As an instructional coach at the school, trusting relationships are a must. No teacher wants to work with a coach if they fear they will be judged or poorly evaluated.
"What is more threatening than a bully?" I chided myself. "What teacher is going to want you as their coach now?"
I continued to doubt the wisdom of that walk. Until I reminded myself of today's key Scripture: "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul delighted in his weaknesses because they provided opportunities to showcase God's grace and power.
Jesus and I have team-tackled my mean girl for more than 30 years. To His glory, most people who know me today have never experienced her unsavory words.
And contrary to my fears, I have had even more requests for my coaching services.
And so I've learned:
Being transparent actually creates trust.
Sharing my weaknesses makes me less threatening.
Being vulnerable encourages vulnerability in others.
Going forward, my heart's desire is that people will not only see my weaknesses, but also the power of Christ which skillfully creates character changes in me.
So I too, like the Apostle Paul, will walk trustingly with my weaknesses. Because when I am weak, there, because of God's grace, I am strong.
Father God, thank You for transforming my life into the likeness of Your Son Jesus. Please give me the courage today to be transparent so others can see Your grace and power at work in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Timothy 1:15-16, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life." (NIV)
2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What hinders you from being transparent and vulnerable? How can you showcase the transforming work of Jesus in your life by being open with others?
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© 2018 by Shirley Jackson. All rights reserved.