SPEAK: Fortify By the Spirit – There is Strength in Weakness

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with Erica A. Hawthorne

There is Strength in Weakness…

© 2010 Erica A. Hawthorne

March 04, 2010

Spirit makes it OK to admit our vulnerabilities...

One of the best lessons I learned about the strength of vulnerability was from a 2-year old. A friend recorded a moment with his 2-year old son on a hot summer’s day in the back seat of the family car, probably after a long day and pre-(much-needed) nap time.  At the moment of utter frustration there was nothing the little boy could do, held hostage by his car seat, clearly upset with the present circumstances and powerless to change anything.  To him it seemed as though crying emphatically was the only available option.  It wasn’t until his mother, in her “mommy wisdom”, began to guide the little one by giving him the words he couldn’t seem to find to express his distress.

As I watched the clip, in near tears myself, I thought of how many times I have felt as helpless and frustrated as little Peyton.  How sometimes the circumstances have seemed so overwhelming and unsolvable that crying seems like the only possible solution.  And much like the toddler, I sometimes find it hard to find the words to express my discomfort, my upset or frustration.  My adult mind says it’s best to keep it together.  The grown up in me says I have to keep up appearances, put on a brave face (read: front) and press forward.  Many times I withhold saying anything for fear of appearing weak and incapable of handling it all.

But watching the exchange between mother and child taught me a very significant lesson:

There is strength in being willing to express and share the moments when we are weakest, when we can’t find the words or the way out of our frustration.

Spirit fortifies us by offering us comfort when we are weak...

God is a lot like the 2-year old’s mother, giving us the words, the space and room to say “I’m tired” or “I’m uncomfortable”.  Spirit makes it OK to not have to fake it or press through when what we really need and want is to sit down and take a moment and say “This is too much.” Or “I feel overwhelmed.”  Not being perfect, being tired, making mistakes, feeling frustrated…are all part of the human experience and are totally acceptable emotions.  Spirit is ever-present to bring us back to our Center and let us know it’s OK to not be strong.  We are fortified by the spirit through our honesty about our weaknesses.

The key is in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.  Vulnerability means bringing forth honesty and requires boldness to allow our most authentic selves to be present, even in the midst of trial and upset.  God gives us the safe place to express ourselves, without judgment.  By our willingness to share, even when it’s not the pretty put-together parts of ourselves, we give those who love us room to show up for us.  Letting others know that you need help or that you are hurting is not weak! In fact, being able to say it honestly and unapologetically, through frustration and tears, is sometimes the strongest thing we can do.

It takes bravery to say, “This is where I am,” even if that place is in utter tears.

I noted that by the end of the child’s tantrum nothing had changed about his outer circumstances.  He was still hot, still anchored to the unyielding car seat and his dad still, according to the little boy’s honest words, “got on his nerves!”  But alas, the opportunity to be mad and hot and frustrated offered some solace inwardly knowing that he had been heard, and that those who loved him were there to offer comfort and much-needed assistance.

The help you need is on the other side of vulnerability and authentic-speech is the doorway to growth.  Speak up and feel free to admit when you are weak! Doing so allows healing to begin and fortification within!

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