2 Corinthians 12:9-11New International Version (NIV)

9 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Saturday morning I drove to my church for the second day of training. Training to learn better listening skills. Training to learn to meet with people struggling with a problem in their life and listen, show compassion, and let them know there was someone who cared.

I knew I was out of my depth. Caring for others who are in difficult situations and need someone to sit, listen and not interject what to me is obvious, is not my natural bent. I am not empathetic. I am impatient and easily irritated by the struggles of others. I want to offer solutions. To share what I works for me. My mantra is get over it and move on.

So why do I not turn around?

[inlinetweet prefix=”God called me to change” tweeter=”” suffix=”null”]Because I believe God called me to change. He provided one lesson after another to prune and shape and mold me into a new creation.[/inlinetweet] A woman broken and patched back together so His light shines through the cracks.

The training started Friday night. Before the actual training there was reading homework. And every single idea, every single behavior required effort, deliberately putting old habits and my natural responses aside.

Compassion. Kindness. Patience. Empathy. Listening to understand instead of reply.

I don’t do those well. I often don’t do them at all. And while I think God is changing me, an honest assessment after many hours of study and practice, left me aware of the gaps in my ability. The progress I think I’ve made is not far enough.

How God, can I really do this?

I can’t.

But God can. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]The answer is not me. The answer is surrender. To abide in Him.[/inlinetweet]

Abide

To take a risk and abandon the old. To be vulnerable and willing to let His Spirit bear fruit.

To trust Him and His mighty power to provide what I lack.

I look back to all the times He did this very thing for me. Never ahead of time, but always at the moment I needed His response instead of my own. His faithfulness to provide compassion, kindness, patience, empathy, love, gentleness reminds me I do not need to worry about what I lack. Only trust what He freely gives.

Amazing grace to me. Amazing grace for me to give to others who need it.

Please, Jesus, keep me close to You, relying only on You. Because apart from You I can do nothing (John15:5). But when I am weak, then You are strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11)

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