How Being Transparent And Vulnerable Can Be Your Secret Strength

Our culture esteems independence and self-reliance. But being real with our weaknesses pushes us to rely on God and builds deeper relationships.

How Being Transparent And Vulnerable Can Be Your Secret Strength

July 28, 2022

My bathroom mirror has a small flaw. In the lower right corner, I can see a crack the size and shape of a dime. But if I run my hands along the surface, I feel only smooth glass. No one knows how a crack could appear only on the inside of my mirror. But it sits there, an ever-present reminder of the small flaws and imperfections which exist in my world. 

How ironic that a crack like this should appear in my mirror ~ the very instrument I use to help me cover up and conceal the less-than-perfect parts of me. Whenever I look at that crack, I realize I don’t just try to polish my physical appearance, but I’m also tempted to hide away any and every weakness in my life. 

And while I do believe in putting my best foot forward, I’ve also learned how valuable it is to be real ~ to be honest and transparent about my weaknesses. 

The Apostle Paul shared this in his second letter to the Corinthian Church:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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 12:7b-10 NIV)

The exact nature of Paul’s affliction is not known. One possibility suggests Paul suffered from a physical ailment caused by severe persecution. Or Paul could have faced a recurring temptation, or a flaw in his character, which he struggled to overcome. Finally, the thorn could have referred to a conflict he experienced with another person. 

But whether his struggle was physical, spiritual, or emotional, Paul understood God’s purpose for it. Perfect people don’t need God. So every weakness, every challenge, every painful situation reminds us of our need for His grace and strength. 

But Paul went one step further. He chose to not only share his weaknesses with others ~ but to boast about them. Paul’s decision feels counterintuitive to me because our culture esteems independence and self-reliance. But I think Paul understood this truth: 

We admire people who seem to have it altogether; but we connect with people who struggle like we do. 

Time and time again, I have seen how transparency and vulnerability open the door for deeper and more meaningful relationships. When we share our weaknesses with one another, we also share how God’s power and grace work in our lives. And we remind each other we can face anything ~ because His grace is sufficient.

Wherever my life’s journey takes me next, I pray to boast in my weaknesses so I remember to rely on the One whose grace will always be sufficient. Wherever path your life takes you, I pray the same for you.

 

How Being Transparent And Vulnerable Can Be Your Secret Strength

July 28, 2022

Our culture esteems independence and self-reliance. But being real with our weaknesses pushes us to rely on God and builds deeper relationships.

My bathroom mirror has a small flaw. In the lower right corner, I can see a crack the size and shape of a dime. But if I run my hands along the surface, I feel only smooth glass. No one knows how a crack could appear only on the inside of my mirror. But it sits there, an ever-present reminder of the small flaws and imperfections which exist in my world. 

How ironic that a crack like this should appear in my mirror ~ the very instrument I use to help me cover up and conceal the less-than-perfect parts of me. Whenever I look at that crack, I realize I don’t just try to polish my physical appearance, but I’m also tempted to hide away any and every weakness in my life. 

And while I do believe in putting my best foot forward, I’ve also learned how valuable it is to be real ~ to be honest and transparent about my weaknesses. 

The Apostle Paul shared this in his second letter to the Corinthian Church:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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 12:7b-10 NIV)

The exact nature of Paul’s affliction is not known. One possibility suggests Paul suffered from a physical ailment caused by severe persecution. Or Paul could have faced a recurring temptation, or a flaw in his character, which he struggled to overcome. Finally, the thorn could have referred to a conflict he experienced with another person. 

But whether his struggle was physical, spiritual, or emotional, Paul understood God’s purpose for it. Perfect people don’t need God. So every weakness, every challenge, every painful situation reminds us of our need for His grace and strength. 

But Paul went one step further. He chose to not only share his weaknesses with others ~ but to boast about them. Paul’s decision feels counterintuitive to me because our culture esteems independence and self-reliance. But I think Paul understood this truth: 

We admire people who seem to have it altogether; but we connect with people who struggle like we do. 

Time and time again, I have seen how transparency and vulnerability open the door for deeper and more meaningful relationships. When we share our weaknesses with one another, we also share how God’s power and grace work in our lives. And we remind each other we can face anything ~ because His grace is sufficient.

Wherever my life’s journey takes me next, I pray to boast in my weaknesses so I remember to rely on the One whose grace will always be sufficient. Wherever path your life takes you, I pray the same for you.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Teresa on July 29, 2022 at 2:26 PM

    Shirley, I love how God puts people into our lives to continue to show us how much we need HIM and the strength HE gives us on a daily basis. I thank God for bringing you into my life, your friendship means to the world to me.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on August 4, 2022 at 6:57 PM

      Thank you Teresa! I’m so grateful to you and our friendship. 💕

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