It’s okay to fall apart sometimes. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them. – “Pickle Queens” meme on Facebook
God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
Most of us, most of the time, present a pretty put-together persona. We are happy to let other people know about our successes, never our failures. We only share the flattering photos. We tell about the celebrations and good stuff. This is especially true on social media. When was the last time you heard someone proudly declare, “I’m overworked and overscheduled. I need to figure out what I can let go of,” or “My anxiety is ratcheting up to such a level that doing the dishes seems overwhelming,” or “I think I might be drinking too much,” or “I just can’t keep up the pace I did twenty years ago.” ? When did you last dare to think it, much less say it about yourself?
We have a culture that celebrates successful independence. We are socialized to believe that success is better than failure, and doing it by yourself is better than asking for help. We’ve even created a whole genre of self-help books because heaven forbid we actually ask someone else for help. Much better, we think, to get a few pointers and then work it out ourselves.
The trouble is, it doesn’t usually work out. Even Paul, who had every reason to boast about himself and what he had done couldn’t keep it up all the time. Being strong and successful all by yourself all the time is exhausting and impossible. But for some reason, we keep on thinking we can do it all. We keep trying to be perfect.
God doesn’t want you to even try. God knows you, the unfiltered, unflattering, unsuccessful you. God knows all the ways you have let yourself and others down. And God is delighted by your failures. Yes, delighted. Why?
Because God does God’s very best work in our failures and foibles. When we are successful, we may be tempted to believe that we got there on our own. Look at me! I did it! When we fail, when we fall, when we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves, God shows up. God strengthens us, picks us up, dusts us off, and sets us free. When we fall apart and turn our broken selves to God, God puts us together again in ways we couldn’t have possibly achieved ourselves. God’s power shows up most perfectly and completely in our weakness.
God’s grace shows up in our failure and brings us the power of Jesus Christ to dwell within us. It’s a power that gives life when we are lifeless. It’s a power that gives hope when we are hopeless. It’s a power that brings us wholeness when we are broken.
So go right ahead. Fall apart. Trust that the God who loves you will put you back together again.
God, I am broken. I fail. I can’t do it by myself. Thank you for loving me in my failures. Thank you for putting me back together when I fall apart. Amen.