Friday, June 28, 2013

Strength and Weakness

If you're a friend on Facebook, you know that not that long ago, I began a course of 30 Days of Abs.  And you might also know that I renamed it "Almost 9 Days of Abs" and quit.  There's a story and a lesson to that.  Maybe today, I will share both.

My abs have always been my weak point.  I was born with a significant hernia in my upper stomach that has troubled me for 28 years, a little less so when I've been more consistently active and a little moreso when I push myself beyond my own strength.  I've tried everything to take care of this, but there's not a lot of help out there and the surgeon was unable to repair this structural weakness when he removed my gallbladder a few years ago, so it seems I'm stuck with it.  After two abdominal surgeries, it's only become worse and more vulnerable.

It's painful.  At times, excruciatingly painful.  At other times, dangerously impinged.  And a constant battle.

The truth is that if I'd leave it alone and not worry about it so much, I can do just about anything I want to do.  Things I would actually do in the course of a normal day.  If I take the right care, I can do the things I don't do every day but occasionally have to do.  The truth is it shouldn't be much of an issue.

Except that it bugs me.  Here, amidst the strength that is, is this one spot of perpetual weakness.  Ugh!  So I go through cycles where I decide I'm going after it, I'm going to strengthen my abs.  I'm going to work on my core so that I don't have to fight this my whole life.

It never works.  Never.  This time, I was taking such care to strengthen without simultaneously hurting my abs that I ended up straining my neck and having to throw the whole program out the window.  I never win.

I think that's ok.  It's not ok with me, but I think it's ok anyway.  The lesson I keep learning over and over (and over) again, often painfully, is that some things just aren't my strength.

It's a biting lesson.  I hate that I am not full strength.  I hate that I am not solid rock.  But physically and in many other ways, I'm just not and I probably never will be and I have to learn to be ok with that because, as much as I may not like it, it's how I was created and it's how things are and it's ok.

The lesson is not that you should go after your weaknesses and build them into strengths.  Some of them, sure.  But not all of them.  There are some places in your life where you are never going to be strong.  Some things you will never be able to do.  Some adventures you won't be able to go on, some obstacles you won't be able to tackle.  You were created that way, and it's perfectly fine.  It doesn't mean you're weak.  In fact, embracing your weakness is an invitation to greater strength.  Because in those places, it's not about you.

I mentioned that yesterday when I said that when the lightning strikes, my life roars like thunder in glory to God.  Because He's built into me these limitations but with such grace that all my weaknesses do is show His strength.

So I don't know.  This probably won't be my last time tackling my ab problem.  Or my last time failing.  But there's always enough strength.  May I never forget that.

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