Recently, the Lord led me to journal my life in the spirit of how Paul was describing his life in chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Corinthians. What follows is my journal entry humbly shared to encourage you in your journey. A suggested spiritual exercise is given at the end.
Lord, I feel led to identify with Paul this morning and how he represents you. Here is my life’s mirroring of what Paul wrote about his life.
I’ve taken risks, provided jobs, influenced multiple people, changed lives. I’ve seen good times and bad. I’ve been financially destitute and saved my way to a lifetime surplus. I’ve volunteered my time, gotten politicians elected, written blog posts, and led my kids and wife closer to God. I’ve been unfairly spoken against, I’ve been accused of not being fair, I’ve been taken advantage of by con artists. I’ve lost it all and I’ve gained it all.
And not just those things, even today when people need help I’m there for them. I get angry about injustice and I pray you would rescue the oppressed.
But none of these good things matter because at the end of the day I still am a fraud in so many areas. I play the victim to manipulate others into loving me, or providing for me, or proving they’ll stay.
When there is pressure, I run.
I find my home in the shelter of arrogance and pride where my isolation fools me into thinking I’m safe. I’ve a thorn in my flesh that won’t go away.
I am tempted.
I’m a fool.
Still, if I could just sit still long enough to hear your still, small voice…
Here’s what I hear when I’m still:
Through knowing where I fall, through embracing these weaknesses, I move out from my safe places of isolation and bring my beat up, inferior, no-good-rotten-self out into the world and willingly subject myself to the ridicule so that others can see you loving me in spite of all that. You work without a net, Lord. You work through ME? Really? That’s risky! But, you work outside my arrogant mansion of isolation. You put your glory on display and point to my very weaknesses and say to the world, “See, that flawed guy? I love him! Would you just look at my creation? I am so pleased! This is my answer to the world of how I love. This is my proof to everyone else that I love them, too!”
Lord, I need you. I’m lost without you. I can’t pick up the phone, love my kids, engage in the present, do your work, be anyone’s friend, serve those in need without you filling yourself into this flawed life of mine with each breath I take. You are interwoven into the dirt you used to make me. You are embedded within all my dirt, and You fill each breath with your life.
Lord, I’m yours. Just as I am. And you love me.
Suggested Spiritual Exercise
Read through 2 Corinthians 11 and 12 with the context of Paul’s writing in mind. Paul was writing to defend his message. He felt compelled to talk about his life not so much as to defend, but to reveal how God shines through his weaknesses (and even more brilliantly when his weaknesses were bookended by Paul’s strengths and accomplishments in the beginning and God’s love shining through it all in the end).
As you read this section of scripture, put yourself in Paul’s shoes and consider journaling. If the circumstances were the same and you imagine people in your life needing an explanation of what you are all about, what would you say about your life, your weaknesses and God’s love? Consider summing up these two chapters by personalizing your life in prayerful writing.