The last month has been incredibly challenging to say the least. One thing I have noticed particularly in Asian American culture (at least in my family) is that "getting help" is taboo. If we ask for help, it means that we are weak and that we are bad. Worse yet, if you're an Asian American Christian, to struggle means that you don't have God's favor, and that's really bad. When we're week, it shows everyone else in our tribe that we are incompetent or unworthy. As a result, we try to hide so that we don't look shameful or unworthy. But what if we began to actually admit our weaknesses. What if instead of pretending that we need to have it all together to hide our weaknesses, we celebrated weakness as a reality of life. And that when good things happened to us, it is a result of God's grace, not our own efforts.
Weakness, struggle, pain and suffering are all part of life. They are certain. Strength, victory, success, and fortune are often our goals in life but aren't always reality. Now I'm not suggesting we give up trying. We will try, that's part of DNA (well most of at least). But for us to think that strength, victory, success and fortune are a result of our efforts is exhausting. If it is completely dependent on our own doing, our own striving, then we are headed for despair.
Today, I starting from a place of weakness. I'm admitting "I really don't have it all together." And then, asking for help where we need it the most. What if our failures were the starting point of God's grace in our life. What if our weaknesses were the place where God's strength is made perfect. I don't know about you, but I grew up believing the reverse. Rather than believing in this truth, I started to believe that being good was all about me. With my own strength I could move mountains. I felt like if I could just fake it, I could make it. There wasn't a real sense of ownership of my failures and when I needed help the most, I couldn't admit it.
For the last month, my family has been going through a really hard time. There has been a lot of heartache and struggle. A lot of difficult conversations and old wounds being exposed again and again. But during this month, I've learned a few valuable lessons that I thought I'd share with you:
- When I get old, I want to have some really good friends that know me and can call me out. Not just the superficial friends, or the friends that I'm "ministering to them" but the men and women in my life who will call out the best, and worst, in me. Who are those people in your life? Do you have them already? And what will it take for you to sacrifice everything to make these kinds of lifelong friends?
- Weakness isn't saying you're weak, it's merely a reality of where we're starting from. I think true strength is found when we can start from humility. This month has been extremely humbling and I am meeting God in those moments of struggle and pain.
- Finally, pain is real. Emotional suffering is hard. I've learned that the secret to overcoming either of these is powerlessness, not control. It's hard and it's difficult, but I know in my weakness God's strength is made perfect. So today, I'm starting from a place of powerlessness. I'm starting from a place of utter dependence knowing that somehow in my weakness Christ will be formed in me.