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Beyond Affirmation

Are you a Releaser?

In my weakness

A Mirror Isn’t Enough

Weakness Does Not Equal Stress

Living consistently in stress is sin.  Living consistently in weakness is following Christ.

Often our own weakness leaves us longing for the inverse.  Oh, to be strong.  Oh, to be in a place without lacking.  Often when we are in a place of stress, we may utter similar pleas:  “I just want time to myself.”  “Show me the results!” “No, that’s not the way it’s done.”  Yet, fundamentally these two vulnerable words, stress and weakness, cause opposite responses.

Stress, as defined in Grip-Birkman terms, is us meeting our natural needs in an unhealthy way.  It is a response behavior associated to fundamentally get our way.  We need time to ourselves, but we don’t get it, so we withdraw.  We long for verbal feedback, but we don’t get it, so we begin to banter and confront inappropriately.  We need to see progress in tasks, but don’t see it, so we demand results from our team or busy ourselves with many small tasks.  We need clarity and structure, but don’t get it, so we demand precision and over-analyze to a point of paralysis.  Ultimately, all of these highlight one fact:  Stress causes an inward turn.  It causes us to be self-centered in our demand of what we expect of others.  

Weaknesses contradict this at the core.  Weakness is a lack, an under

stood gap, and the understanding of no strength.  Weakness leaves us grasping.  We long to hold on to something, someone to support us.  Picture the frailness of an aging citizen trying to run a 5K without training.  Imagine a young boy staring at 40 lb dumbbells.  The likeness of us understanding our weakness can be similar.  What should our weakness produce in us?

A grasping for Christ to share in the suffering. (Phillipians 3:7-11)

The example of this is in life is not pretty.  It’s painful.  It’s hard.  It’s tear-jerking.  It’s what the pioneer of Grip-Birkman has been teaching us for too many years now as he loving cares for his wife through health battle after health battle, leaving him battered, humbled, open-handedly crying to God, clinging to Scripture.  And the lesson is clear.  When you watch his life, you see Jesus.  You see power.  Not because of sharp words or skilled compartmentalization.  No, it’s in the weakness, in the stillness, in the brokenness of surrendered love we see God’s sufficiency. 

A grasping for Christ to allow His power to shine alone. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Isaiah 42:5-8)
When we are welcoming of our weakness, it positions us to submit.  When being true to our own lack, we are able to admit without Christ we are nothing.  The significance is this:  God will not share His glory.  When we claim any ounce of strength in ourselves, we deny our Creator’s supremacy and reign over all.  

A grasping for others to allow Him to be known. (1 Corinthians 3:5-10)
Imagine being trapped in a foreign country trying to find a remote house in the countryside.  And you hear people talking… in English.  And another at the next table has a map.  Weakness does not cause me to prove self-sufficiency, wandering the countryside.  It doesn’t lead to prove my navigational prowess in a challenging situation.  Instead, it allows me to pay attention to who is skilled around me to serve in areas where I am weak.  I may have the address, but without a map, and without the consultation of locals through a skilled translator, I would wander aimlessly for hours.  My part in the plan is one piece of the puzzle.  It is not the completion of all Gifts.  The lack of Spiritual Gifts positions me to have weaknesses.  This becomes the indent on my puzzle piece which must be filled by another.  I am a cog without the others I remain motionless.  I am a finger… imagine the loneliness without a hand or an arm or a body.  I embrace my weakness to understand my role among others.  I welcome my weakness to position myself humbly in getting to play my part – with full passion and conviction – but with the results being fully dependent upon Christ.  And the beauty of alongside weakness is from the weakness I confess, I empower my brother and sister to embrace their role.  Only in the weakness of “I need you” will others believe their necessity in the Body of Christ.  

Living in stress response means we are allowing ourselves to live in a space which causes us to focus on self.  The Bible is clear that we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3-4).  Knowing James 4:17 no longer allows us to live in stress — if we know what to do, and do not do it, it is sin.  But living in weakness is different.  

Living in weakness is a foundation of Christ-like pursuit of relationship with Christ and others.

Be clear on the differences:  

Living in our ongoing stress response = sin;  

Living in our ongoing weakness = His Glory revealed.  

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