Sunday, October 29, 2017

I Am a Beggar Who Boasts


Many people commented on my vulnerability in writing Clinging to the Crutch.  And yes, I admit it is a little humiliating to know that thousands of people now know about my struggle with Anxiety.

But really, it wasn't that hard to blog about it.  Rather, the most difficult moment came a few weeks prior to writing that post, when I had to admit to my teachers that I was not coping well.  

If I had to pinpoint the main source of my anxiety before that moment, it would be the fear of letting my teachers down.  I had been hired as their principal, as the very person they were supposed to depend on--and I couldn't do it.  It was my greatest fear, and the anxiety of that fear became self-fulfilling.  I was so afraid of failing that then I failed.

Admitting to them that I wasn't coping well--that Anxiety and insomnia had made me literally physically ill--was one of the most humbling things I've had to do.  But it also was one of the most freeing things I've ever done.  And as I look back on the last several months--now after a few weeks of feeling almost completely normal again--I see that moment as the turning point for me.

Why is that?  Why was I so desperately afraid of vulnerability, of imperfection, of failure?  

Pride, I guess, if I have to be honest.  I never realized how much of my fear was really about me until I came to the end of myself.  But I did come to the end, and suddenly something flipped in my soul.  I stopped worrying about my own failure and what that meant for myself and my reputation, and instead started focusing on how I could serve.  Anxiety still made me totally and completely overwhelmed for a while, but I started thinking about what I could do.  How can I serve today, even in my weakness?  How can God show himself through me today?  What small things can I thank God for today?  And slowly but surely, joy started breaking through.

"[God] 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I will boast in my weakness.  

I will boast in my weakness!  

Shouldn't that be the mark of me as a Christian?  Aren't I one who already realized, long ago, that I can't ever be good enough, that I can't ever be enough of anything on my own?  Wasn't it Jesus himself who said, "Apart from me you can do nothing?"  

So why then am I so afraid of failure, of weakness, of humiliation?  No indeed, Amy!  It should be my boast!  

Protestants everywhere are celebrating Martin Luther this week.  He looms large in our history but was certainly far from perfect.  This morning, I heard that his last words were, "We are beggars.  This is true."

Yes, my friends.  I am a beggar.  A beggar who has found the Bread of Life and the Living Water that will never run dry.  And the more I taste it, the more I want to share it with others.

I boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  


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