A Note from Bionic Me

I love a good challenge. I love to learn and absorb new things around me. I started using a new computer program today that I’ve never used and had to force myself to stop messing with it, because I have other things to do and I can learn more later. I often think I can do anything (within reason). At least in most settings.

I find myself wondering today if this is one of those situations where my greatest weakness is my greatest strength overextended. Let me explain. Sometimes the things that make us great, can be pushed too far and end up being our downfall. For example, I’m very compassionate and empathetic. This is a strength. But, when I allow my empathy and compassion to drive in some situations, I can be a giant pushover and let people walk all over me.

When it comes to my bionic, superwoman, learn it all, be the fastest, do better, mentality, I am really good at a lot of things. I’m an excellent employee, friend, singer. I want to be the best I can be so I work until I get it done. This is a strength, but in light of the gospel, this can be my downfall. See, God isn’t likely to be too impressed with my valiant strides towards greatness. In fact, he resists arrogance and pride and sent His son to die for mankind who had spent thousands of years trying to prove they were good enough, only to find they needed a better way. Jesus is that way!

God doesn’t expect me to be superwoman, yet I will try like mad to show Him how capable and “good” I am. I was reading in Genesis 11 this morning. Man says, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves” Gen 11:4. The key phrase here is “let us make a name for ourselves”. They were doing the exact thing we all do sometimes, trying to do things all on our own and prove how great we are.

If you know the story, God decides to confuse their language and scatters them all over the earth so they wouldn’t try that again. The place is called Babel, which means confusion (It’s also the beginning of Babylon and you know Babylon ended up taken God’s people captive and even shows up ago in Revelation). The point is, when I try to prove my worth and be good enough, it only makes me captive to confusion and exhaustion. But Jesus came so that I can have life and rest and peace and FINISHED the work on the cross. That’s all I need. If only I could learn once and for all to REST in that.

Don’t let your greatest strengths get out of balance and become your greatest weaknesses. Don’t work so hard you forget to live. Don’t let your arrogance get in the way of the freedom and blessings that you don’t have to earn…they’re freely given. Let your faith and His strength be enough.

From your friendly neighborhood Bionic woman. (I was named after the bionic woman by the way, but that’s a story for another time.)

What now?

There are many inconceivable stories around us every day that we haven’t heard. We have no idea what the person next to us has lived. We can’t conceive the stories that aren’t ours…that aren’t open to the vast space of the known. We hold glimpses not substance. We hold illusions and self-constructed paradigms, based on our own experiences. We can’t fully grasp the depth of the experience another has walked because we aren’t “another”. We are “we”, “us”, something separate peering in from beyond casting opinions.

And it’s almost inevitable. We do it. We can’t help it. I caught myself tonight. The judging voices from my worldview, looking upon someone else’s experience and thinking, huh???? Why is that so easy? Maybe it’s just our nature.

Regardless, I found myself looking at someone. They were saying a trigger from their past was causing them to look at a present circumstance and look for an exit route. My first reaction was (ashamedly) disdain. It seemed such a trivial thing. It seemed like something wholly redeemable. I tend to look at things as opportunities. If something from my past causes me to be triggered in my present, I want to rise above and kill the giant. I want to slay and once and for all triumph above the thing I know I really haven’t killed, but at least pretend I’ve brought light to the darkness. It’s my way of coping I suppose. But not everyone is wired that way and that’s okay.

I admire the strong who can say, “this is too much. I can’t right now.” Honestly, I’ve never been that brave. I have to conquer and do it anyway, damn the consequences to my own mental health. I figure all of that will work itself out eventually. But what if it doesn’t?

What if I’m left at the end with the trophies of my own self-proclaimed victories and an empty soul pleading that I was really trying to be strong? What if my desire for strength stifled my ability to lean in and find a strength to lean on?

I walk each day proclaiming the mantra that “I’ve got this” and all the while, I hear this small voice saying “My strength is made perfect in weakness”. And I KNOW this! And I lean on this, or pretend to, while I hold the world on my shoulders and pray against avalanches and earthquakes. Because I KNOW, I don’t “have this”. I need others. I need more than I alone can bring. I am not really the bionic woman I was named after (true story, I was named after the bionic woman’s character).

Yet, the weakness is the beauty. I am strong when I know I am weak. When I can stare at the wave about to toss me like a pebble and say, “You can’t break me”. Then feel myself being thrown about until the turbulence subsides…and I’m still standing in the end. That is strength. In that way, I am strong. And I hate that I’m so strong. Why do I always have to be so stinking strong?

Still, I can’t help but think that the beauty is in the response. What do we do with the giants we face down? Do we run and hide or dig deeper? Do we know at the bottom of the rockpile, there is a purpose only we can achieve? I suppose that may be the real question.

Maybe we as a people should quit running and face, with eyes ablaze, the next thing and then the next and then the next until we have finished our race.

I don’t know the answers but I know I will not go down without a fight and I will stop trying to be a lone warrior. I will find my army. Maybe it’s one or two to hold up my arms or whisper a quick, “you’ve got this”, when I feel like I’m going to break. Maybe it’s a tribe. But even when I break and crumble into a million pieces I trust the one who always puts me back together and I hope you do too. The breaking isn’t easy, but the beauty that comes from the rebuild is stunning. I’ll try to look for that beauty in others even when I’m tempted to get snarky and I hope you can see it in me as well.