Weaknesses made strong
When I was twenty one and preparing for a mission I continually became overwhelmed with the prospect of being a missionary. I’m sure I am the only person who has ever felt this way, am I right? The anxiety that I didn't have the capability to teach others other’s about the Gospel, to bear that responsibility, and that I wouldn't be able to complete my mission seemed crippling at that time. Noticing my anxiety, my father turned me on to what quickly became my favorite scripture from the 12th Chapter of Ether. Here,
And the Lord gave the most eloquent response that I have gone back to time and time again as I face new challenges in life:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.
Our weaknesses, doubts, fears, and shortcomings can be a blessing if we let them. Through humbling ourselves and supplication to the Lord, he will make these weak things become strengths in our lives. Personally, I believe much of that has to do with overcoming our fear of failure and giving ourselves a chance to succeed. Through this I have seen myself serve a mission, overcome a crippling shy nature to forge beautiful relationships, be a strength to others, and overcome my own loneliness. I can now confidently conduct photography sessions and evolve in my capacities where once I would not let even my family see my photographs. I am not yet perfected in these areas by any means, but the progress I have made is rather amazing. If only to myself. Not to mention the personal strength and edification I have received through this process.
This is a beautiful cycle that He has prepared. If we consider the tendencies of the natural man; the inclination when one becomes stronger, smarter, and better is a sense of pride which can lead to arrogance, and putting yourself above others. The Lord has prepared a way that we can become stronger and smarter, more capable spiritually, temporally, as in all aspects of our lives through humility. Allowing us to use these new found strengths to serve others. I often consider it the antithesis to the cycle of pride that is so easy for each of us to get trapped in. Through supplication and an exercise of whatever faith we have, we start on a path of improvement and are more readily equipped to avoid the pitfalls along the way.
Now, there are often times that we all feel misunderstood. That no other person can possibly fathom our feelings, struggles, and fears. That we don’t fit in for a myriad of reasons. What I have found through my experience, however limited, is that we all feel that way. Some more often than others, but we all do. It is a weakness that many people get lost in, looking inward instead of outward. With outward momentum, and humbling ourselves before our Heavenly Father in search for help, great relationships will be forged, lonely hearts are mended, and we grow through the mutual service we can all benefit from. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about the gospel. We come together, all unique, all growing in the gospel, but still different. Many coming from different backgrounds and experiences, all to share our experiences and to teach one another. To grow from one another’s weaknesses and strengths. I take solace in this. That we all have things that we don’t comprehend. And that there is constant room for growth and new understanding. Something I have been impressed with while attending this ward, is the range of perspectives that are shared and discussed so openly in the forums such as Gospel Doctrine classes and Relief Society. Such an atmosphere has been designed by our Heavenly Father for all of our growth and improvement.
This blessing helped me forge my way ten years ago into the mission field where I had many shortcomings, but was able to testify of the strength that the gospel gives. I have a ways to go. I look towards this promise as I try to improve in so many areas of my life. I have found that callings are an excellent way that the Lord helps us to become stronger. Sometimes we are called because we excel in a specific area, and sometimes because we have great potential. This current calling does not come easily to me. I am perhaps, the most unorganized and flighty secretary in the history of the church. And I may also have a problem with exaggeration. But I (try to) see it as a (another) chance that I have been gifted to grow in these areas. And the rewards of my association with the sisters in our ward have already been manifold.