Two Things We Can Boast in: Weakness and the Cross

It’s been quite a week since last Thursday. I have had several sleepless nights, I have had a mental war. I have worried. I have fretted. My digestive system has suffered. Why you ask? Fear!

I am going to crack open my heart and soul with you. I struggle with worrying too much about what other people think. I also simply take myself too seriously much of the time. I struggle with anxiety. I worry I am going to appear a failure.

My story this last week began when me and my students performed at a retirement home last Thursday. I got up to perform and well I basically fell flat on my face. I lost where I was in the music, got distracted by my thoughts and was overwhelmed with anxiety. You would have thought in my mind that the world came to an end. I did not externalize my feelings. I acted as if nothing happened, but the inner war was tremendous and for a week straight I worried and fretted over that. I assumed people’s thoughts. I was not thinking rational, and I even told myself that, but I was still tortured by it.

In my Psalm study I have been reading through Psalm 64, the first couple of times I read it, it didn’t resonate with me in any particular way, and then I felt compelled to read it again last night, and it jumped off the page and into my heart! The Psalmist in the beginning says, “deliver me from my fear” He didn’t say deliver me from the situation. This is what I was pleading with God, deliver me from this dread! The Psalmist sounded just like me tortured in his mind. He continues on to say “hide me from the secret plots of the wicked.” Now for him it was external enemy, but for me, I resonated with wanting to be hidden. I wanted to go hide. I felt humiliated. Then the Psalmist says, “they hold fast to their evil purpose” I just thought about how our enemy, satan, can use this as an opportunity to try to overcome us, discourage us, condemn us, ensnare us. This is a perfect opportunity for him to get a foothold on us. In verse 7, the Psalmist says, BUT GOD! I just stopped here, because really we needn’t go any further. Everything that preceded this is not the final analysis. GOD is the one who has the final say. God is my deliverer. It says in verse 10, “let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him. Let all the upright in heart exult.”

I was humbled by this situation. God allowed my to fall. God knows my struggle with perfection and people pleasing, and the only way for me to overcome it is through the fire. How can I expect to be refined and to grow to be more like Him if I don’t go through some discomfort. It really has been a thorn in my flesh. I have to learn that it isn’t about me and there is noting like going through something like this, to humble me.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord is safe.” Proverbs 29:25

Being a Christian does not mean perfection, or no struggles, and I think of the verse “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” The word fear here is not anxiety but a reverence and respect for God’s authority, and trembling is admitting our weakness, and submitting to our dependence solely on God. This is an ongoing sanctification process to bring us into more of HIs likeness. To do this, God has to test and try our hearts. We have to be humbled, and this is not comfortable, but it must be done.

I have hanging in my hallway as a huge reminder from 2 Corinthians 12:9……..

“My grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER is made perfect in weakness.”

We have nothing to boast in except our weakness and the cross. It is a truth that I am still learning every day. The layers of of my own self focus are being pulled back. God is gracious with me and he is gentle. I am being refined. I don’t want to remain the same. I want to be more like Him, but I have to be willing to go in the fire, be uncomfortable. I have to deny myself and take up my cross. I have to also remember this is a daily process. Every morning his mercies are new, and I have to come to the feet of Jesus to be renewed every day. Like the old hymn says…….

“Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord. Come and quench this thirsting  of my soul. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. Here’s my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

A final thought — You might have heard that joke/story about the kid who was in church listening to the sermon. The minister prayed, “Dear Lord without you we are but dust.” When the child heard this she leaned over  to mom and said, “Mommy, what is butt dust?”  haha!

I  was sent this joke by my childhood piano teacher and friend before she passed away this past February. We laughed so much about that.  She texted about a month before she died, and the text read simply, “We are SO butt dust!” 😛

Don’t take myself so seriously. Depend on him. Boast in my weakness. Boast in the Cross. I have to beware that just when I think I am something, I will find out pretty soon that I am nothing.

He’s still working on me! He began a good work in me, and he is for sure going to see it though to completion!

God gets the glory!

Blessings,

Johanna

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14 thoughts on “Two Things We Can Boast in: Weakness and the Cross

  1. Oh you are so precious !!! God is working through you to all of us that you send this to. We are all human. I know it took a lot to share this but I am so glad you did. I too let fear consume me at times and it is almost unbearable. It is horrible. Praying for you Love you so much Bev

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    • Oh thank you Bev. I am so glad you shared that. We can encourage each other. Yes God is working even when we can’t see it. He is working it all together for good! Love you so much too!

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  2. You are not alone! Take heart. Our pastor said a few weeks ago that “life is full of trouble. We are either coming out of trouble, heading into it or in the middle of it.” It never seems to go away. I think it helps us to keep our eyes and dependence on the Lord at all times. All the same, I still love the moments of reprieve. lol. Hugs, Debbie

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    • Debbie, you and your pastor are so right. In this world we will have trouble. We can’t escape it. I think this is what Paul was talking about in regards to his thorn in the flesh. He said in case he gets too conceited.
      I agree I wait for those moments of reprieve too. I have to always remember that God is good and loving all the time no matter what is going on. His loving arms are always around us even in testing and trials. He knows whats good for me. Hugs to you too!

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  3. I needed this today. I just came out of a meeting with my new boss. Really nice guy, I think we’ll really hit it off. But I have struggled with anxiety in big business meetings and situations in the past – probably because I feel like I have to perform well in front of others. I felt the same way, I felt like I just wanted to run and hide. I just wanted God to tuck me away in a blanket under his shadow haha. But I totally agree with us working out our salvation daily and that fear is snare, but we do have to be uncomfortable to grow. Plus the joke at the end gave me a much needed chuckle. Great post and thank you!

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    • Thank you Joel for sharing. It helps to get encouragement from fellow brothers and sisters who struggle too sometimes. Glad you enjoyed the joke. It really has so much truth to it and it stays with me as one of the last things she told me. I still have the text. I can’t delete it. Have a great rest of your day and be encouraged! God is good!

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  4. Jo, This is perhaps your best writing to date ! It reminded me of something that happen to me so long ago. I was asked to sing a solo at a wedding. The song was “The Lord’s Prayer”. I fell flat on my face. I really messed it up. After the wedding, my wife and I were to attend the wedding reception…she went. I was too embarrassed to go. I could not face the people. Now, get this…The wedding was your Mom & Dad’s ! I am still humbled as I think of it. Humbled & weak…two good things. Love you, Uncle Dave

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! I did not hear that story. Thank you so much for sharing that. I know that feeling so well. It doesn’t feel good when that happens. I also know we over blow things in our head way worse.
      Love you. Thank you for writing that. I bet you have cool singing voice! I don’t believe Ive ever heard it. 🙂

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