Weakness & Vulnerability May Be Your Biggest Strength
(Warning: Be prepared for some serious spiritual discussion.)
Those of you who follow Career Jockey may remember that in early December I published Five Steps for Beating the Christmas Bah Humbug Blues. In step #1 of the article, I committed myself to 20 minutes of daily reflection. You may also remember I was hoping for an Amazon Kindle reading device for Christmas. (See Christmas Gift Ideas to Wow Your Job Seeker.)
Well both of these came together recently when my wife gave me a Kindle for Christmas and I purchased my first Kindle book SacredSpace: The Prayer Book 2010. The book is an offshoot of a daily devotional website with the same name (see www.sacredspace.ie) published my Jesuit Communication Centre in Ireland.
Don’t let elementary school flashbacks of scary Irish Jesuits deter you. This is a prayerful, thought-provoking devotional following the daily mass schedule. The book provides a devotional reading providing the theme for the week. You read that one every day. Then for each day of the week it provides the daily mass Gospel reading and some meditation questions. According to one of the book’s endorsements, it “…has been helping millions to pray for some years.” Well it’s now helping me too.
Let me share with you a few lines from this week’s devotional reading. The theme is “The Weakness of Jesus:”
Weakness is the inability, even after a great effort,
- To perform as we should want, or
- To achieve what we had determined, or
- To succeed with the completeness that we might have hoped.
It means openness to suffering.
The first few times I read it (remember before each day’s reading you re-read the week’s theme), I read through it without notice. Then somehow on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the words started taking on meaning for me. I found myself chewing on it like a piece of gum that suddenly wakes up with renewed fruitiness. (I slightly odd word picture, but it’s the only one that came to me.)
In defining weakness so clearly and assigning that definition to Jesus himself, I could see that my own weakness the line “made in his image” applies to me. And when I thought that at His very weakest Jesus was most successful, I started exploring what greatness lies within me that is made most obvious when I’m at my weakest.
When I’m vulnerable, out of control and when I feel the least secure, (like when I was freaked out in the middle of my job search) this uneasiness stirs up inside me. It pushes me towards a crossroad where I have a choice to make. I can panic, worry and try to painfully birth an immediate solution to the problem or I can decide on some level of acceptance. It’s similar to a flight or fight response when faced with danger.
My experienced tells me that when I try to control an obviously uncontrollable situation, I get a false sense of power. It’s like slamming a door on your finger and noting how effectively it prevents people from coming in. Sure you solved the problem, but only after buying yourself a lot of pain.
I have also seen that when I back off, disengage and possibly accept the ugly truth of a my situation (and therefore admit to my weakness and vulnerability), I seem to get myself out of the way. I feels vulnerable, but I also remove the pressure. And in more times than otherwise, solution start popping up. It’s not me in my weakness that’s solving the problem. It’s that in my weakness I open myself to solutions outside myself. And they may have been solutions that in my prior panicked state, I may not have even noticed.
This is only the first week of SacredSpace: The Prayer Book 2010 for me and it supports my preference for St. Ignatius style spirituality. What does that mean? My abbreviated definition is that of visualizing a scene from scripture or of a set of Bible verses and meditatively experiencing the message. In essence it’s a form of prayer.
So I’m seeing myself making use of my new Kindle and SacredSpaces to continue growing in my spirituality and hopefully growing closer to the more serene person I’m hoping I can become.
Hope this helps.