“But he 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 about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NIV)
I’ve struggled for a long time with perfectionism. I’ve tried to avoid failure at all costs. Perfection manifests itself in my life in different ways. I shy away from taking risks or trying something new because I can’t be sure of how well I’ll fare or what the outcome will be. I hold stubbornly to control in order to ensure success because other people might not do a job as well as I, and I don’t want to be associated with something flawed.
I’m not certain where my belief that I can’t be flawed or make mistakes originated. It’s been an internal drive for as long as I can remember, though. I clearly recall panicking and almost throwing up in fifth grade when I thought I’d forgotten to complete a homework assignment. It turned out to be a misunderstanding, but I didn’t learn this until after my body had tried to rescue me from the anxiety-induced fear. Even now, when I think I’ve screwed up, my face and body will physically heat up, my palms will get clammy, and my mind will begin to race as it scrambles for a possible solution to the issue.
When I read this Scripture above, I’m reminded that human perfection isn’t possible. It’s not even God’s desire for us. If I can achieve perfection on my own, then I’m completely self-sufficient and don’t need anyone else, certainly not God. I forget that my failures, mistakes, and flaws remind me of my dependence on God and lead me to draw near to him time and again.
Paul shares his experience of this truth with the Corinthians. He asked God to remove something with which he struggled from his life. He pleaded multiple times with God, but God did not acquiesce. Instead, he lovingly reminded Paul that human deficiency showcases God’s power. Paul’s response was: “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10 NIV)
Read the rest of the devotional over at The Glorious Table.