Embracing Helplessness

I am, by nature, a “fixer.” If someone comes to me and shares about their troubles, I naturally tend towards dishing out advice in a three step plan to solve the issue. This is, usually, grounded in a love for people and a desire to help, but negatively I can base my sense of worth and identity on whether or not I have an answer or how well-received my answer is by the listening party. Recently, I have been surrounded by people I love who are enduring loss, sickness, or hurt. I have been utterly humbled as I have recognized my lack of ability to fix their “problems.” I am finding that, more often than not, I don’t know what to say or what is the right thing to do to communicate love in the midst of their suffering.  However, I am realizing that that is actually a sweet grace, a gift of God for me, to recognize that I should always be aware of my lack of ability to do or say anything of worth apart from Him! This is pushing me to pray like never before. I am learning that I have to just show up, whether that is physically in their home, or through a text or call. I am humbled to have to have to cover every word and action in prayer as I try to serve in some small way but remain constantly aware of my own insufficiency. The longing of my heart is that, in those moments, I will be the hands and feet of Jesus to them, but I am totally reliant on the Holy Spirit to succeed in fulfilling that desire.

I have been reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller, and in it he talks about the Christian’s critical need to recognize their own helplessness apart from Christ in order to have genuine, dependent prayers. It is only when we recognize our own helplessness, our own weakness, that we find the true channel to grace. He talks about having a godly distrust of ourselves, in which we recognize our tendency to try to do life on our own without God’s help. Maybe we are good at recognizing our need for God in the really “big” things, but the day to day stuff? We act like we have that under control. We got it. That is, until we don’t. It is often when fail miserably in a critical moment that we realize that we didn’t actually have things figured out all along. Nothing is teaching me about my need for real-time, every-day grace like being surrounded by the suffering. It is driving me to the foot of the cross, where I am once again reminded that I have access to the throne of grace and the greatest and first service I can do on behalf of those I love is pray. I will pray for what they are going through, and I will pray that the Spirit uses me to be an encouragement to them in whatever practical way I can. Today, and every day, the cry of my heart is,”Abba, I need you.”

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong