Weakness: Act Strong or Ask For Help?

Destin late afternoon

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“Why is weakness something we fear so strongly?”

I was reading Kara Tippetts’ blog, Mundane Faithfulness last week, and she shared about those days you just work to get through. At the end of her post, she asked some questions, but this one stopped me hard.

“Why is weakness something we fear so strongly?”

Bird flying solo

Why do I fear weakness? Why do I fake strength?

My answer, I confess, is based in pride. Mostly. I don’t want to appear “less than.”

Seaside alone
Less than what others think I am.

Less than the image I sometimes seek to portray to the outside world.

Less than my own expectations for myself.

But on a deeper level, sometimes I fake strength because I don’t feel safe in sharing my weakness. I’m afraid my areas of struggle are petty compared to others. What they’re going through versus what I’m going through.

Afraid I’ll be judged . . . again, as less than.

Sun on water

The question becomes, do I not feel safe because I don’t trust others? Or because it’s a genuinely unsafe place to share my weakness?

God has filled my life—my heart—with an amazing husband, two joy-filling boys. Special friendships. Why would I not feel safe in these places?

The more I think on this, the more I realize I fake strength because I don’t trust others—I don’t trust God to accept me in my weakness. God knows my heart. He knows my strengths. He knows my failings.

Feet on the beach

And guess what? He still loves me just as much as the day He dreamed me up.

He knew the rejection I would face in my childhood—how it would mold and shape the way I viewed life all the way up to today. God knew the experiences I needed to have so my life could reflect Him in my unique way. Yes, even in my weakness.

Why would I try to hide what He sees and knows? Because He sees and knows me better than I know myself.

Why would I deny Him the chance to shine through my life?

Why would I deny others the blessing of helping me when I need it?

Catamaran

Pride.

I’m convicted by that question: “Why is weakness something we fear so strongly?”

I fear it because I don’t want to not measure up. I don’t want to disappoint others. I don’t want to feel like a failure.

The truth is, there’re a whole lot of sentences in there that begin with “I.”

Prints in the sand

I can’t avoid areas in my life where I am weak. I might be able to hide them for a little while—to fake strength. But I’ll only end up empty.

When I trust someone enough to share my needs, not worrying about what they’ll think, I’m laying aside pride.

When I trust another with a piece of my heart, relationships are cemented. Trust is deepened. Bridges are built that forge one heart to another.

Walking bridge

I don’t need to fear my weakness. I shouldn’t wallow in it, but I don’t need to fear it.

When pride is stripped away, there is no reason to fear weakness. Instead, I can trust others to help me in the midst of weakness. And, I can lean on God for strength.

And honestly? That strength may come in the form of enduring the weakness. Living it out well in a way that allows God to shine through my cracks.

Girls hand in hand

Our culture insists we must be strong. But we all have weakness within us. When we trust God with these areas in our lives—when we can be vulnerable with others about our weakness—we are indeed strong.

What about you? How would you answer the question, “Why is weakness something we fear so strongly?” How well do you accept help from others?

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Weakness: Act Strong or Ask For Help?

  1. Brilliant post, very thought-provoking…and the pictures are perfect for the subject.

    I don’t really fear weakness. I don’t accept it; I CAN’T.

    Tomorrow is going to be harder than today, and I’m going to have as many – or more – duties. There are no days off, and there is no safe place to rest in this life. Weakness – mental or physical – is simply impossible to accept.

    It isn’t fake strength, or bravado. I honestly don’t think about how others see me. Not enough energy for that. The strength is what you get when you cut through the dross of civilization, religion (as opposed to faith), and culture. It’s not the strength that says, “I’m brave! I’m confident!”

    It’s the strength that just keeps going, without need for moto crap and sloganeering s…uh, stuff.

    I get tired; I reach out to a very few people by sharing salient events via email.

    But it’s not weakness. I’ve been through enough pain to know that pain pushes weakness out of the body, and out of the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andrew, you add a new facet to the conversation in defining strength. I didn’t even think to do that. 🙂 I loved what you said about how you get strength by cutting through culture, religion and culture. I would add expectations (from a woman’s perspective 🙂 ), and that it just keeps moving forward. I so appreciate your perspective. You’re making me think. . . again.

      Like

    • I fall into that same thought process of not wanting to be a bother to others. Do you think that is an issue of pride too? You’re right that others want to help us. Our people want to help us when they know we need it. And that’s one beautiful way God knits our hearts together. 🙂

      Like

  2. I am not good at accepting help. I have found a lot of freedom in sharing my weaknesses, or struggles. It has opened up the most doors in my writing. Hearing others voices share in those struggles, helps me heal and feel purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems easier in the short run to not ask for help, doesn’t it? But there is beauty in sharing our struggles with safe people. And hearing voices of truth when we need them do bring healing and purpose. Well said, Lisa!

      Like

  3. Good writing Jeanne as usual! I tend to hide weaknesses too; perhaps it’s a fear of human nature; fake it till you make it? I’m strong until I’m not really strong at all? I don’t think of weakness, perhaps because I’m afraid to deal with it. You would have to bring it out in the open, aye? For me God is the only answer like “Psalm 18~ I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.” That’s where I take my weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Mom. We should always take our weaknesses back to the Lord. I would guess most of us don’t think on our weaknesses until something happens that brings them front and center. I guess it’s when this happens that we can really see them, and then talk with the Lord about them. I so appreciate your transparency here. 🙂

      Like

  4. I’m getting better at accepting help from others. Slowly. I’d never thought about how fear of weakness was actually pride–but when I look at my life, I can see that it’s true. Pride in doing things my way. Pride in the fact that I could do so much and not break down. Pride in my accomplishments. It’s a hollow victory when your health starts to suffer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anita, I’ve been there. Am still there some days. Sigh. Pride has a sneaky way of slipping in and skewing reality’s appearance, doesn’t it? I loved your last line. I guess the next question to answer is where is the victory in that situation? Yep, I’m asking myself that too. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Like

Comments are closed.