Two months have passed since Drew, my 7-year-old, broke his leg. Now he is walking and even running at times. It’s easy to forget the difficult weeks after the accident and the fact that his now-healed femur has two titanium rods inside. But sometimes I watch his gait and recognize the limp, reminding me of his injury and how much this little man has overcome.
Yesterday afternoon I was in my bathroom, praying, getting ready to go to our church’s Easter Egg Hunt. This activity is one of our annual events where people from the neighborhood surrounding our church typically bring their children. In the past, these events were characterized by the church families hanging out together and the guests in their own circles. Except for the casual greeting or the natural interactions, for the most part the two groups didn’t interact.
But slowly, I’ve seen a transformation in our hearts as a church. We aren’t content to simply provide food and entertainment and hope these people would find Jesus in the midst. We’ve sensed a deep burden to reach out to these individuals, these families, and these children on a more personal level.
This Easter Egg Hunt was an opportunity to put feet to our burdens and connect with those who came. I signed up to be a “Connector” – one who would be willing to make an effort to meet the individuals behind the unfamiliar faces. This wasn’t easy for me. I’m socially awkward and tense up at the thought of meeting new people. I trip over my words and usually end up saying something corny. I guess you could call this my spiritual disability. My “limp” if you may.
But God wants to use my limp.
You see, when I was praying in my bathroom, I was confessing to God how much I stink at this. How nervous I was. How I wanted desperately to meet new people and love them but I was shaking in my flip flops. I begged him to give me the words I didn’t have, to show love through me in spite of me, and to give me strength to spark a conversation.
I laid out all of my weaknesses, all of my fears, and said, “Do something I can’t.”
When I arrived at church amidst a sea of unfamiliar faces, I instinctively went in a corner with those I knew. Then I remembered my commitment and walked up to the first unfamiliar face. And then another. And another. By the end of the evening, I had had several great conversations.
I met a single mother of three under four who is going to school full-time. I met two young women who had their first children in their mid-teens. I met a mom with four children, a niece, and a nephew whose husband works long hours. I met a grandmother raising her four grandchildren and mildly-disabled daughter.
Within those interactions and others, I found love stronger than my fear. I found myself moving past my limp of social anxiety and seeing these people as ones Jesus came to rescue, just as he rescued me.
I wish I could be transformed to have the gift of gab. I wish I wouldn’t shake in fear every time I needed to talk to someone new. I wish I could be healed of this social anxiety once and for all.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Like Drew, perhaps the more I walk – the more I intentionally put myself into situations that stretch my comfort – perhaps the limp will become less of a hindrance. It will become easier with time. But unlike Drew, who will eventually heal and lose his limp, I have a feeling I will keep mine. I have a feeling this social anxiety will never completely go away. If it weren’t for my limp, I probably wouldn’t have prayed so desperately before the Easter Egg Hunt. If I were running and jumping I would think I could do it all on my own.
But my limp, my limp keeps me dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit in my interactions. My limp keeps me humble, because I know I can’t do it on my own. My limp actually gives the Spirit the best foothold to show his power and glory.
The power of Christ in my weakness is greater than my greatest strength.
What is your limp? Have you hidden it under your strengths or have you surrendered it to Christ?