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  • Renata Joseph

Yo, that's weak.


Things in Belize are starting to open up again, and with it, the opportunity to be out and about more often. This weekend we bounced around from activity to activity. We hosted people in our home, attended a birthday party in the village, and our first in-person church service in almost 3 months. We also held our (for now) final youth discipleship group - all while wearing masks in the 90+ degree heat.


In the midst of renewed busyness are the ever-present inconveniences of living in a developing and tropical location. We have learned first-hand that mango season coincides with mosquito and cockroach season. We've been told of, but have so far avoided, the even more dreaded tarantulas and scorpions. Our oven broke, our fridge has an ever-present puddle underneath, our water pitcher cracked. Little inconveniences that, when you are tired and hot, feel much bigger than they are.


Even more discouraging to me than these mini hardships is the reminder of my own weakness. I have been on heart medication since my pregnancy with Brooklyn, over 10 years ago. My activity level, caffeine consumption, sleep and stress levels all contribute to how well I feel on any given day. Coming back to Belize, I remember how active I was when, at 22, I last lived here. I'm realizing that 39 is a far-cry from 22.


During quarantine, I tried to incorporate some exercise into my routine, but after 2 sessions of low-impact workouts, I was stuck in bed for 2 days. Now, as I emerge back into the activity of "normal life," my body is once-again pushing back. I don't want to be held back. I want to take the heat and humidity in stride, not need to go home and rest after sitting in a hot church service for 2 hours. I don't want to have to contend with my own weakness.


2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' "


I don't want to deal with this when I believe in a miracle-working God. In my own wisdom, it makes more sense for me to have boundless energy to do the work He has for us here. Instead, while Eddie is up before dawn running with his Belizean running partner, I sleep-in, recovering from the heat. Weak.


Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 to say, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, 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."


What a powerful thing to say and, even more so, embrace. The idea that because of (not despite) my weaknesses God's power will rest on me. I know, without a doubt, that if I could do everything I want to do, I wouldn't rely on His power to do it. I know if I could do everything, I wouldn't prayerfully weigh-out which opportunities to pursue. I'd do them all! This weakness brings me to my knees, seeking His strength, seeking His instruction and direction. And through that process, His will is done, His power is released into the work I do and He is glorified, instead of my own ego.

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