When You Don’t Have the Strength for Transformation
Submitted by Jennifer Power
What does it take to transform a life? What does it take to transform your life? What does it take to transform your children’s lives? For several weeks now we have discussed what it takes to live lives transformed spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We have discussed premises and promises and what part we must play if we desire to see transformation in various areas of our lives.
If you have been participating in our study (either in services, small groups or both), I have a question for you today:
Do you have what it takes to transform?
Do you have what it takes to dig deep and make the changes which need to be made to allow transformation to take place?
Maybe you feel like you are in a place where you do have what it takes. Perhaps you are energized and excited by the challenge to improve various areas of your life and have already begun experiencing transformation in your life. Perhaps you feel God working right alongside you on this journey of transformation.
If this is you, that is awesome! God gives us seasons of life where we feel we can do whatever He sets before us to do, and as we walk along His path for us, we experience much fruit. This is a wonderful place to find oneself.
But maybe, you are one of the many who just does not feel like she has what it takes to complete the premises to receive the promises. Maybe you feel like all your strength is gone. Maybe you know exactly what you need to do in every area of your life to receive transformation but feel trapped and overwhelmed by your inability to do what it takes. Perhaps you feel you are drowning in a sea of guilt and shame. Perhaps you are on the brink of giving up. If this is you, transformation may seem like a goal too far out of reach: you are simply trying to survive another day.
This is not something only mothers experience, but I believe it is an experience which occurs often in motherhood for many of us. Maybe this has always been the case, but it seems today mothers experience a high level of pressure, guilt, inadequacy, fear, and depression. We have come to believe it all depends on us. If you are anything like me, we often hold ourselves fully responsible for our marital happiness, the well-being of our kids, the physical and financial health of our families, developing close friendships, the cleanliness of our homes, and our relationship with God (among others). We are fully convinced our problems are our fault and thus it is up to us to fix them all. If we are not growing and maturing in our faith and in our ability to act like Jesus, it is because there is something we are not doing well enough.
For All of Us
Perhaps for you, the premises which accompany the promises of God feel more like a burden than a blessing and a privilege.
Mark 12:30 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
So what does that mean when you do not have any strength left? When all your energy has been spent trying to do everything right as a follower of Christ and still you feel like a failure. When you are on the verge of giving up and you feel like God is so disappointed with you. When you give in to the shame and allow yourself to believe every negative thought about yourself which enters your mind or your ears.
To you, Jesus says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Is this you? Are you worn from your labors to get it right? Is your strength gone? Do you feel you have nothing left?
To you, Jesus says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Do you long for gentleness? Do you long for rest? Do you long to just breathe?
To you, Jesus says “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The premise in this promise is a simple one:
Come to Him.
It is okay to give up. It is okay to stop trying. The world will not fall to pieces if you stop. In fact, your world could be falling to pieces by your inability to stop. Rely instead on His goodness. Know instead His love for you which surpasses anything you could ever imagine or comprehend. He is not disappointed with you. When He sees you, He sees Jesus. You are holy and pleasing to Him – not because of anything you did wrong or right – but because of Jesus. He desires to transform you into Christ-likeness through your reliance in Him in response to the force of His love.
Ephesians 3:17-19 says,“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Your weakness is not a stumbling block for God. When Paul (writer of a number of New Testament letters) was pleading with God to remove a “thorn in his flesh” God replied:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8)
First and primarily, what does God want from us? He wants our trust.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:8)
Let God be your refuge. Let Him be your strength. Let His grace wash over you. Tell Him you trust Him. Ask Him to help you trust Him. He is faithful. Let Him show you. Meditate on His love for you, and if you don’t have the strength even for that, ask Him to reveal His love for you. He has proven Himself faithful to me in this regard time and again. In His time and in His way, He will do this for you too.
Sometimes the work He gives us to do is hard indeed, but we cannot do the work He has given us to do if we are not rooted and grounded in Him – if we do not trust Him with everything within us despite what may come. That must come first. Unconditional trust.
Job said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” and “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 1:21 and 13:15). Only when we begin to trust Him unconditionally, can we enter His rest.
Know He is always with you, no matter what you face. Know that He always loves you no matter how badly you fall short. Know that your relationship with Him and your transformation into Christ-likeness comes not from your effort but from His grace as you trust in Him.
God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)
Rest in that promise.
He loves you. You are enough.
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
A few songs for you if you are walking in a place where you feel you have very little left.