06 May Operating From Our Weaknesses
In every person’s life there are moments that are so momentous, we never forget them. Often, we can remember very specific details about these experiences—a smell, a sensation, a conversation, a look—that remain embedded in our memories, almost frozen in time. For me, the births of my children top my list of life-changing moments, and in fact, being Mom to two people I think are pretty incredible is still a profound privilege that I cherish and do not take for granted. But there have been other remarkable moments, as well. I remember my ordination to ministry as if it happened yesterday, and when the anniversary of that event came up last week, I enjoyed a sweet, sweet walk down Memory Lane—like remembering the very first day I showed up for class at seminary, and was flooded by a feeling that I’d always been meant to be there.
Another memory I have with acute clarity is a conversation that took place when I was interviewing for Calvary’s pastor position. This occurred eight years ago, and at some point during the interview I told the Pastor Nominating Committee that they needed to know two things about me: first, I do not camp. Not for anyone, at any time, for any reason, under any circumstances. I’m happy to send campers off with my blessing and prayers, but me going camping is not going to happen. The second thing they needed to know is that technology is not my gift. If the church needed a pastor with technology skills or with a passion for camping, I was not the right person for the job.
Fast forward eight years and what do I find myself doing but learning a cotton-picking newfangled technology every week, all because of a once-in-a-hundred-years global pandemic!!! What are the odds?! As one parishioner said to me this week, “God has a sense of humor,” to which I could only reply that I am not laughing. At least not yet. Maybe years from now, this ironic twist of fate will make it into the Fincher family lore, and I will appreciate the humor of it. But that time is not now.
Zoom conferencing. Live streaming. Virtual worship. These are terms I never wanted to utter, much less plan and execute. The problems are legion. There are the technical issues, of course, which are totally beyond my ability to understand. Technology is a foreign language I don’t speak, so as soon as we are beyond the technology equivalent of “Hello, how are you, where is the bathroom located?” I am lost, in over my head.
Equally problematic is the fact that from an emotional standpoint, I am continually working in areas of my greatest liabilities and weakness rather than operating from my strengths. At times, this kind of situation can push us to learn and grow and do more than we think we can. And perhaps some of that is happening, but as a recovering perfectionist, this mostly just feels like a whole lot of stress.
From a spiritual perspective, however, this “hard place” is also a place of richness and fertile soil. Time and again, scripture reminds us that what God most wants from us is not our talent and gifts but our openness and willingness to be used. God wants to work through us, and God is thankfully not limited by what I bring to the table—or don’t bring. Despite the myriad ways in which I don’t have the proper skills or know-how, I am discovering all over again that God’s grace is sufficient. God will supply all our needs. With God all things are possible. These are the promises of scripture. These are the truths of our faith. They are also invitations. In every area of weakness, anxiety, fear or struggle, God invites us to trust that God is with us, present to us in every circumstance, and full of loving power that we cannot begin to imagine. We don’t need to have all the answers; just a willingness to offer what we do have and let God use it in ways only God can.
Yours for the Kingdom,