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Part 2 of a series called Unconventional Gratitude, something near and dear to my heart, is a challenge to be grateful for your weakness.
When you choose to be grateful for the little and big things every single day, it can be life-changing (jump in on the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge to see it in action!). Choosing to be thankful for family, smiles, and quiet mornings with steaming mugs of coffee is certainly worthwhile!
But, what if your heart of thanksgiving dove even deeper? What if you were even able to be grateful for those challenging, messy, ugly-crying-into-a-pint-of-ice-cream parts of life?
I believe Christ calls our hearts to overflow with thankfulness, in good times and bad. And if a grateful heart for the good things can change your life, imagine the transformational power of unconventional gratitude, saying thank you (and meaning it!) even when everything hurts.
Walk with me this month through 3 areas we tend to skip over in our gratitude journals.
Grateful For Weakness
I have a phone date with my best friend Maryam every Monday evening. We’ve been best friends since 6th grade, so our friendship has now aged for over 2 decades and she probably knows every secret I’ve ever had. You wouldn’t think we would have all that much to talk about since we check in with each other every week (often with texts and Facebook messages in between), but every single week, we can talk for hours…and that’s exactly what we do!
When life is going well, I can’t wait to share my good news with her. When I’m sad, I know she’ll cry with me and cheer me up. When I need advice, she’s one that I run to because she knows me so well and I completely trust her wisdom and her values.
There are a lot of things she is really good at that I am just…not.
- She has really good taste in fashion, makeup, and jewelry, and I’d live in jeans and t-shirts 24/7 if I had it my way.
- She is one of the best conversationalists I know. She can talk to anyone about anything for hours and even though Ilove having deep conversations with people, I really stink at making small talk.
- She is a naturally gifted runner. She qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon, runs Ragnars, and she can go months without running and then go on a 5 mile run like no time has passed. On the flip side, I have to train hard to run.Speed does not come easily to me and I have to increase my distance slowly and carefully to avoid injury.
- She is an interior designer and can create the most beautiful spaces using color, accents, and things that I would never even think of as a home decoration. I can’t envision design like that, so I’ve always stuck with white walls and an occasional picture thrown up to spruce up the area (and all of my moose paraphernalia, of course!).
In those areas where I am weaker, I lean into her for help.
I’d send her pictures of my outfits before going on first dates to make sure I wasn’t committing major fashion faux pas. She has taught me so many conversational tools to help me meet and connect with more people. Her tips and encouragement have kept me running consistently for years. When I buy a house, I will be calling and texting her constantly for help in decorating decisions. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of areas she’s helped me!
I don’t like that I have areas of weakness.
It can be really frustrating wanting to be good at everything and just not being able to achieve it (can you relate??).
But, what if, instead of looking at those things as areas of failure on my part and striving to be whole all on my own, instead I was able to see those strengths that I lack more like a puzzle piece, needing other pieces to fill in my gaps to complete the picture?
We were created for community, to connect with God and other people. If we were good at everything, what need would we have for each other?
Think about the close relationships in your life. Chances are, you are close because you have needed each other at one time or another. You each bring something to each others’ lives that you wouldn’t have on your own.
My weaknesses humbly drive me to ask for help, invite others into my life, and they strengthen all of my relationships (especially when I don’t let them warp into insecurities that I try to hide, which end up isolating me).
So, I will happily accept that I have zero fashion or decorating sense and I will deal the fact that running comes easier to Maryam than it does to me. Those areas aren’t about her being better than me, but more about them being areas where she can complement me, making us both better together than we would be apart.
Those areas of weakness are also good for deepening my relationship with Christ.
There is a reason God chose to make us jars of clay and not diamond-clad titanium vaults. Our cracks make us Christ-reliant instead of self-reliant.
His power is made perfect in our weakness.
Those areas that frustrate me are really vessels for God’s strength, channels for His light to shine into my life, and who am I to try to cover them up?
When I can’t do it on my own (you know, like I realize just about every single morning), my weaknesses send me to my knees to ask for help and guidance from my Savior. They remind me who my Source of strength really is and who is there waiting for me – ever dependable, ever faithful, never failing.
He doesn’t chastise me for lacking strength because it’s not about what I can do, it’s about what He can do through me. As long as I come to Him with open and willing hands, I don’t have to worry about carrying the burden on my shoulders because He carries it for me.
For all of those reasons and more, I am grateful for my weaknesses (even if they still frustrate me sometimes).
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