During a Christian singles event, author and counselor Terry Ewing asked a man to talk about his girlfriend with whom he was considering making a deeper commitment. The man started talking about her strengths—like her beauty, intelligence, caring nature, honesty and strong faith.
However, Ewing wasn’t satisfied. He believed that an important ingredient was still missing before the man could make a deeper commitment to his girlfriend. The young man couldn’t figure it out. Ewing said he was looking for her weaknesses. Ewing believed that how she dealt with her weaknesses was an important key to success or failure in a relationship.
He argued that until you knew a person’s weaknesses and how they dealt with them, you don’t really know the person well enough to make a long-term commitment.
Whenever I bring this dating concept up to some of my friends, it is not taken that seriously. We don’t like to talk about weaknesses and struggles because we think that equals being negative. We prefer to hide our weaknesses from everyone or act like others don’t have them. Even when we talk about our struggles, we talk about them in the past tense, after we’ve overcome them.
Think about it. When is the last time you boasted in your weaknesses? Being weak is part of the human and Christian experience. It’s amazing how many people are shocked or hurt when someone they love, admire or respect falls or stumbles. The fantasizing of our heroes as perfect people—even though we claim to know in theory that no one is perfect—breeds unrealistic expectations.
A lot of the disappointments that we have in our relationships wouldn’t exist if we changed our perspective.
We also struggle with this in our relationship with God. Many of us prefer if God used our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Yet God wants to use your weaknesses as much as he wants to use your strengths. The problem with exclusively focusing on our strengths is that it leads to self-sufficiency, which leads to pride and other sins.
Our weaknesses and struggles remind us that we always need God’s help to live a godly life, and we can’t do it on our own. We passionately like to quote Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Remember that the emphasis isn’t on “I can do all things” but on Jesus’ strength. Jesus is the hero; not us.
Also, if you are not weak then why do you need his strength? Jesus isn’t a backup to your strength. He is your strength. We need God today as much, and even more, than we needed him yesterday. We don’t stop needing him because we have conquered our many sins.
We need to learn to acknowledge our weaknesses before God so that we can receive his gracious strength in all areas of our life. Admitting your weaknesses is not being negative; it’s being realistic and humble.