Why your greatest weakness is your greatest strength...

We are raised in this society to view weakness as a character issue...
Whatever that weakness may be.
We need to heal it, or fix it...
Or ignore it..
or shore up our strength around it.
So it doesn't hinder us.
What if, by embracing our greatest weakness...it could propel is to our true purpose?
What if, by attempting to sand that scar out...
we rub out what makes us useful?
I think this is what God meant when he said
"Through your weakness you are made strong."
Maybe that weakness wasn't an accident.
Maybe that psychological tear, that emotional scar, that physical disability...
is there for a reason.
And instead of fleeing from it, we are to turn and face it..
and embrace it.
And then use it to encourage others?
For Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was his accent...his massive size.
He was told he would never be a big named actor because who could possibly see his name in lights?
No one would go see his movies.
For Sly Stallone, he had nerve damage in his face....It caused his mouth to be lop sided...
It's The same snarl that he is now known by...
Betty Ford's alcoholism turned into the Betty Ford clinic.
The death of five year old Adam Walsh prompted his parents...Reve and John Walsh (of America's Most Wanted) to lobby congress until it opened the center for missing and exploited children.
I have admired people over the years...Mother Theresa,  John Walsh and others...
and I never really put together why....
But now I know.
It isn't just that they were courageous.
It was that they WENT BACK INTO the source of their pain,
to pull people out.
I never really got Mother Theresa's reasoning for living in absolute poverty until recently...
She put herself in a position of weakness so that she could better understand the weakness and the hopelessness of the people she was helping.
I was watching a tv show yesterday called 30 days.
In the show, it teaches people empathy by having them live as another person lives for 30 days.
In the case of a former pro football player...
he lived as a paraplegic for 30 days.
At the end, he understand that those people weren't different..they just couldn't walk.
And it made him want to help.
Did he have sympathy before?
But did he really understand what it was to get up each day and be dependent on someone to help you get in the shower...get in and out of the car....get you a plate of food?
For me, I understand the mentality morph that happens to women in abusive relationships.
From  healthy, to mentally beaten down, and finally to an attitude of self loathing.
My weakness, my damage, was put there for a reason.
I don't think people who have never been in the middle of a dysfunctional relationship can truly understand..
In much the same way a person who has never been morbidly obese can understand what it is like to  try and give up food as a crutch.
The same way a person who was never bullied...
or never had anorexia..
or has never had cancer...
can truly understand.
That weakness is your gift.
Because it connects you in a way your strength cannot, to the people around you.
It is there for a purpose.
Because really...
if you are going through a painful experience in your marriage..
who do you want to talk to?
The person who has a 'perfect' marriage?
Or the person who has been through it and came out the other side?


I am damaged...
But I have been damaged for a purpose.
So that I could understand and have sympathy for people who have been damaged in a similar way.
So that when I am talking to them, and teaching them...
I am not looking down at them.
I am standing with them and helping THEM climb up and out.
All this time, my greatest weakness has been my greatest strength.


Robin said...

Isn't it amazing to have that "aha" moment? I get this exactly. Every pain means something. It isn't an accident. It all has purpose. Every bit of this path is here for a reason. I read this and think, "Yes."

Unknown said...


Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Awesome Post!!
Sometimes no one has been through what you have and then it is only Jesus Christ who understand because He suffered all our pains/heartaches/sins/weaknesses. At least HE KNOWS when no one else does.
I so agree that we go through hard trials so that we can help and empathize with others who also go through that, if we don't become bitter, that is. Suffering can make us softer, more compassionate, and a kinder more caring person.


Jack Sh*t, Gettin Fit said...

Very nice post, Chris.

BTW: http://jackfit.blogspot.com/2011/08/im-on-diet.html

K said...

Amazing post! Thank you for sharing your journey!

Gigi said...

Great twist on perspective. It never occurred to me that way but I can absolutely see the sense in it. We spend so much time trying to fix our "flaws" that we never see the usefulness they contain. Great post!

Hanlie said...

Wow! I'll even say it backwards. Wow! I've long admired you for your insight, but this is post spoke to me like few others have. Maybe I'm just in the right place in my life to hear this, but it felt like a calling. Thank you, Chris! And bless you.