But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.
When I turned sixteen I couldn’t wait to get my drivers license. As the day of the driving test grew closer, my anticipation turned to fear. My biggest concern was parallel parking. I had practiced but just couldn’t seem to get the hang of how to get my car in between two others. On the day of the test I drove ever so carefully through every step of the test, dreading the time when the instructor would tell me to parallel park. Then all of a sudden he asked me to turn down the street that the motor vehicle office was on. Was it possible I had done so well that I wasn’t going to have to parallel park? Not at all. In fact, he asked me to pull over and parallel park right in front of the office, where everyone was within visible range of my performance! I’m not sure what happened, perhaps nerves or paying more attention to my audience, but I backed over the curb. I was horrified. My instructor calmly asked me to drive off of the curb and turn off the car. Needless to say, I failed.
Twenty-seven years later my son joined a long line of anxious teens waiting to take their own tests for a drivers license. As I watched him drive away, I was surprised to see his instructor immediately ask him to parallel park near the motor vehicle office. Seriously, do these instructors have no mercy? Now I was the audience watching my son perform his parallel parking. The story was different this time. He parked like a pro. I was so happy and proud watching him do so well. Honestly, if he hadn’t done well I would have been equally proud and loved him the same.
As a teen I felt like a failure in such an important time in my life. That day my parents weren’t disappointed, they still loved me, and encouraged me to take the test again. The next time, I passed.
We face many obstacles over our lifetime. If we rely on ourselves in those times, failure will be our response. It will drive us farther away from the gifts God has given us. It keeps us from knowing we have a purpose. In those moments, remember He is our source of strength. Surrender the old way of responding to trials, keep your eyes on the reward, and allow God to drive your life to newness. Just as I was proud of my son, remember God is still equally proud of you, and loves you just the same.