both sides of me
I am two different people. First, I am the person who rises to a challenge. If someone says “you can’t,” that automatically means “try it.” “Don’t” is the best way to get me to “Do.”
But then I see the second person who is my own worst enemy. I have pushed myself beyond my limits and failed miserably. As a result, I like very much to wrap myself in the comfortable and the easy, staying safe and warm with nothing to bother or scare me. Feelings of embarrassment springing from moments of vulnerability or weakness are on my Top 10 Biggest Fears list.
Last week, I did a short gospel presentation in Spanish. Sounds simple enough. However, I had noticed with other team member’s presentations, that the children had difficulty focusing when we used a translator. As soon as the team member would begin speaking in English kids would begin picking on one another or rolling around in the grass.
So, I determined that I would try and do my whole devotional in Spanish. Without a translator. Once I had the idea, I knew I would not back down. I could not let myself; this was a challenge and person number one would rise to it.
Unfortunately person number two was right on my heels, and the fears assailed. One hundred things went through my head in the days before my presentation. Phrases like, “You are only doing this to show off,” or “You are only doing this to practice your Spanish, you don’t really care about presenting the gospel to the kids” sounded like sirens as I mulled over the presentation and jotted down ideas for what I was going to say.
The worst part about these voices in my head was they were all saying the truth. For that reason I was sure I would fail. Fully aware that I was undeserving of help, I simultaneously assumed this would be a perfect opportunity for God to show up and perform a miracle that involved me speaking in tongues.
Like I said at the beginning, I am two different people.
That morning, as I stood in front of the kids asking them questions to begin my presentation, I thought things were going well. Then I looked down and saw that my hands were shaking. The fumbling began and the rest of the presentation was unpolished and fragile.
When it was over no children rushed forward to ask for more information. Only one team member made the effort to tell me that I did well, while the rest said nothing.
This was it - the moment of weakness that I usually try to avoid. At one time I might have seen this episode as a type of failure. But instead, it reminded me of the part of God’s character that I love so much it makes me ache - the fact that God redeems “both of me.”
He takes weakness and turns it into an opportunity to display His strength. He takes the impossible and creates possible. He chooses to use those who do not deserve His mercy or His grace as a very vessel for displaying that same undeserved mercy and grace to His world.
He takes our failures and our “but dust” physiques to show us who we are and how much we can do nothing of ourselves. And at the same time, through Christ, we can do all things.
This summer Katherine Spearing is working with our partners in Monterrey Mexico. She is serving Vida Nueva and other church plants in Monterrey by coordinating the short term mission teams and assisting in a variety of other roles as needed. Katherine has volunteered with Vida Nueva in previous years, and is currently exploring God’s call to missions or vocational ministry.