A Soothing Balm

And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

— 1 Corinthians 12:9-10, NASB

I have been having a very rough couple of weeks. I have been fighting a severe lack of confidence in . . . well, everything. Unfortunately, the end of the school year is always extremely busy with a plethora of Things Which Must Be Done, field trips, doctor appointments (have to get those annual check-ups in so kids can go to camp!), dentist appointments (oh, did I mention my oldest two need braces now? Yikes!), eye appointments, and all the assorted things that seem to pile up when ending a school year. There are also the continuing Boy Scout campouts, the end of year award ceremonies for all three Scout units we’re in (I’m organizing one of those ceremonies, by the way), and the annual scramble to finish up merit badges and level/rank requirements.

As is often the case, when I feel inadequate, I end up taking on some kind of Herculean task that I do feel confident to complete, even if it requires the exclusion of most of the rest of my world for a time. I seem to need these things to restore my confidence. I don’t know why. Last weekend, it was the need to make twelve camo cinch packs for Tiger’s upcoming birthday party. It’s as if I have a need to prove that I’m the Best Mother Evah with this kind of stuff. Here’s what I mean:

cinch pack

(By the way, the pattern is super easy. I found it here. I will definitely be doing it again for other groups of kids. Just not maybe twelve of them in one marathon Saturday sewing session with four hours of shopping with my daughters in the midst of it . . . What am I trying to prove, exactly?)

In the midst of all this, I am also preparing to take over as the Troop Coordinator in our American Heritage Girls troop. I agreed to take over for one year and one year only, because next year, there will be a troop closer to my part of town, and I am hoping to switch to the newer troop and take on less of a decision-making role. But in the process of completing the not-insubstantial paperwork required of a new Troop Coordinator, and in the hubbub of the busy season, it seems like all of my failings and faults shine ever brighter.

Do you ever have those seasons? Those times when you are so busy that you are just flying from task to task, and every little mistake–every book that ends up overdue at the library because you left it in the car and every last minute school project that gets thrown together haphazardly because your second grader forgot to mention it and it was buried in her backpack and every fast food meal that becomes necessity because you forgot to plan dinner–only serves to highlight your incompetence? It becomes a cycle of self-flagellation. Suddenly I’m not a human who makes mistakes because she’s swamped with stuff to do, but I’m a complete failure as a mother.

At least, this is my typical mental process. I’m not saying it’s healthy.

As I continue to work through the paperwork for the new position, the questions I am required to answer serve to remind me of all my inadequacies as a leader, a friend, a follower of Christ, and just, in general, a human.

  • I am frequently contentious and overbearing. I am sometimes quite difficult to get along with.
  • I am not good at conflict resolution.
  • I sometimes get ideas and just bulldoze ahead with them rather than waiting for input from parties who may have objections or refinements.
  • I frequently challenge some of the sacred cows of modern Evangelicalism. I have a very intellectual faith. This often puts me at odds with other believers.
  • I am demanding. I set the bar high and expect others to reach for it. If they fail, I don’t chastise them, but I do expect them to try to reach it.
  • I am an introvert, and I do not care for meetings, parties, events, and the like. Social interaction exhausts me.

So . . . in all honesty, I do not think I am what AHG is looking for in a Troop Coordinator. I am administratively gifted, and I have no problem tackling vast amounts of paperwork, but otherwise? No, I’m not really coordinator material.

This puts me in a bind, doesn’t it? There is NO ONE else to take this position. If I don’t do it, there will not be a troop next year.

And then I read 2 Corinthians today. And I remembered: His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Paul’s words were indeed a soothing balm for my wounded spirit today.

I know that my circumstances are not the same as Paul’s in this passage, but I think the principle is similar. I have to remember–this is not my troop, is it? This is God’s troop. These are His girls. I am not called to be the Best Coordinator Evah. I am called to be faithful with my gifts and my presence and my willingness to serve. He can make up the difference, can’t He?

It’s sort of like parenting, I guess. I have to remember that my children do not belong to me–they belong to Him. He has entrusted them to me for a time, and He is their only Perfect Parent. I am required to provide their basic needs, to love them, to teach them, and to discipline them on a path that leads to Him. The rest is up to Him and their little stubborn souls. (Of course, if my stubborn spirit could bend a knee, there is hope for any and all others.)

So perhaps my prayer is changing. Instead of, “God, make me a good coordinator,” I think it’s more like, “God, take care of your troop through my service, and let both my strengths and my failings be evidence of Your power and Your work in my life.”

Indeed, perhaps that should be my prayer in all things.

Till next we meet . . .

J M

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3 thoughts on “A Soothing Balm

    1. jmpadoc Post author

      Someone today reminded me that God often uses people who have severe confidence problems, because God will do whatever brings Him the most glory. I have to remember that, ultimately, everything is about God’s glory.

  1. Pingback: A Writer | Notes from the Threshing Floor

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