The following post is an ongoing reflection on the book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. To read earlier posts on the series you can click on the links below.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
In the previous post I discussed the issue of our limitations. That we live within the tension of facing both our potential and possibilities when it comes to career, calling, vocation, as well as facing our limitations and how that may shape, form or guide our direction.
We sometimes are trapped in language games and when we don’t use the right word we can sometimes fail to really understand or grasp what we are talking about or the issue at hand.
Parker’s use of the word limitations had me thinking about Paul’s use of the word weakness. They are not the same word and do not have the same meaning, but they are both helpful. Why? Because as people we don’t like to believe that we are weak. We don’t like to believe that we have limits to what we can do. For Paul, we are not quite sure what this weakness was, though many have written on the topic. Most believe that it was more rooted in some physical weakness, either of body or mind. For Palmer, the use of the word limitation seems to imply a lack of a certain skill, or gift, or possibly a hindrance from others that may keep us from pursuing what we want, or believe we want.
However you want to dress up a word, or interchange it’s meanings, the reality is, is that as humans we are filled with both limitations and weaknesses. Instead of seeing this as a bad thing, or as some impedement to our goals, this is actually a blessing. Acknowledging our limitations and weaknesses allow us to (even forces us to) rely on others for strength. As Christians, this acknowledgement is the gracious movement away from self-reliance towards reliance on Jesus Christ whose power rests on us.
How do you view limitations or weaknesses in your own life? As good or bad?
For myself, they have helped me understand better who I am, and have therefore allowed me to pursue the things that I believe God is truly calling me towards, rather than constantly banging my head against a wall to make other things happen with my own power.