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Faith Imagined: Strength in Weakness

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

January 17, 2010

Strength in Weakness


I have nodules (calluses) on my vocal cords. Singers get these due to the stress of singing. These nodules cause your voice to sound breathy and hoarse. I grew up going to speech therapy, and my distinct voice sparked my immense fear of public speaking.

To my chagrin, God called me to public speaking. The week before my first speaking assignment, I was so consumed by anxiety and worry that I literally could not sleep. It got so bad that I imaged taking shots of tequila (I don’t drink) or slamming my head against the kitchen counter (I’m not a masochist).

Little did I know that my perceived weakness would force me to be innovative. I grabbed at anything that would divert my audience’s attention away from me. I learned and implemented computer software, utilized original visual aids, created exciting group work and interweaved the Internet into my talks. If I could just keep the minds of my audience continuously busy, then I wouldn’t have to worry about them analyzing me and my voice!

Flash forward ten years later. I completed a speaking assignment last night; and as I watched my audience members smile and laugh; discuss problems and answers; encourage one another and talk like old friends, I was amazed. This was our first meeting, yet my audience interacted like we had been meeting for years. Needless to say, none of them got bored or fell asleep! I spoke with confidence, and it felt good to know that I might be making a difference in their lives.

I realize now that I'm a pretty good speaker, and I'm also a very versatile speaker. My mind is constantly looking for ways to engage the audience and get them involved. My testimony about my speaking journey always blows people away. But really it is all to the glory of God because everything is from Him. The only thing that I added to the mix was my obedience. My obedience in my weakness caused me to be innovative and propelled God's strength in my life!

Working with a weakness is hard, but I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 12.9: “But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” God gives us weaknesses for a reason. They push us out of our comfort zones and force us to look beyond what’s already been done.

If you feel God calling you to work inside of a weakness, be excited! He is about to do something amazing in your life. Though the path will not be easy, trust that God knows what He is doing. He will not ask you to do anything unless He has declared your victory. Repeat the following list out loud and take that step of obedience. Your weakness can become one of your greatest assets!

1. My weakness will cause me to be innovative
2. My weakness will give me a unique perspective
3. God will use my weakness to show His glory
4. God will do something new in my weakness
5. God gives me victory in my weakness
6. God gives me grace (supernatural favor) in my weakness
7. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4.13 NIV).

Now go and change the world!

*On this note, I will be speaking at A Woman Inspired Online Conference which is being held March 14th - 18th. I would love for you to join us!


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36 Comments:

Blogger 3 Blessings said...

I love this. God works through our weaknesses and He is given the glory. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

Did you see what your oh so fabulous sister did at my blog? I am so excited by her creation and thankful for her beautiful heart.
Blessings,
Amy

10:06 PM  
Blogger Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Isn't that funny? I feel weak when I'm in front of people because I'm so quiet and introverted. But public speaking is actually something God has helped me really grow in. I don't leap at the chance, but it's actually something I enjoy now!

10:46 PM  
Blogger Bina @ Bina's Pad said...

I used to avoid speaking like the plague. I would go into the class that I had an oral report in and would just nod at the teacher when she said to me "Just taking the zero on this?"...it was horrible. And now, God not only has me singing in church...but also leading classes and workshops at our retreats. He has a funny way to turning things around...and I am so happy to read your story of how He has used your weaknesses for His glory!!

You are a beautiful reflection of Him!
:) Bina

11:23 PM  
Blogger Little M said...

This is a beautiful and inspiring post! You've got me thinking about my own weaknesses and how I can be obedient to God despite them -how I can let them be transformed. Thank you!

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I literally get weak when I get up to sing and my mouth goes dry every time, no matter what kind of throat elixir I use! It is only by the grace of God that music comes at all and I've been singing for 18 years!

His Grace really IS sufficient!

Thank you, Alisa. Have a blessed day.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Tonya Ingram said...

I love to watch God work in people's lives to show His glory. It's hard to realize He can do it in me also because I am so comfortable in my comfort zone. Walking outside of that is scary, but I know He will carry me and show His glory. Thanks for sharing.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Beautiful Daughters said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Beautiful Daughters said...

Alisa
Thank You so much for writing this.
It met me where I needed it too.
Sharing my testimny to a crowd makes my knees and stomach weak.
Writing does the same. At times I question if this is what God really wants for my life.
I just want to be obedient in His will. There are times when confusion sets in. Praying for clarity.
I am taping this list to my bathroom mirror

8:38 AM  
Blogger alicia said...

The mere thought of standing up in a room full of people makes my heart pound loudly in my ears, my face turn red, my palms sweat, and my stomach do somersaults for days. And I cry. Why? My voice shakes and I have no emotional control. God did use me, I was our MOPS coordinator for 2 years and had to go up and speak... and you know, I was never perfect, I always got nervous, but, the women rewarded me by saying they appreciated that. I was more "relatable" in my weakness. God knows what He's doing, each and every time.
Thanks for the great post!

10:13 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Alisa,
I so needed to read your post this morning! It was very encouraging. As I prepare to teach the Bible study, overwhelming insecurity has descended upon me. Amongst the feelings of fear of being a failure and nervousness of not speaking well, I know that the bottom line is that what God has called us to do, He will enable us to do it (I Thessalonians 5:24). It's in our weaknesses that God is strong and can shine forth His glory brightly!

I didn't know you are going to be speaking at a A Woman Inspired conference. At least I don't remember knowing...LOL. The A Woman Inspired site is where I'll be teaching the online Bible study! What will you be speaking on at the conference?

10:32 AM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

It is amazing how the Lord works things out.
We are going thru something like this. My husband hates to speak in public, and I don't mind it. We are starting to speak at small groups and even some churches. When I say we that means my husband, with some interjections by me. But I know the Lord will use this to speak thru my husband.....because he really doesn't want to do this:)Thanks for the encouragement!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

Thanks, Alissa. I'm speaking to a group of high school students in a couple of weeks. I've been stuck in my preparations. But your "Take Hope" comments really got my thoughts to churning.

Double thanks.

Jean
http://www.jeanmatthewhall.blogspot.com

1:06 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

I love how God uses our weaknesses to strengthen us and grow us; even when we sometimes resist. I find that the most growth happens when I choose to be obedient and move through those weaknesses.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Family, Money and Stuff said...

Thank you so much for this encouragement. What a great reminder. God is so great that way. If I can do something without God's help, where's His glory?

It IS scary. I question and doubt and resist at least one place where I know he's calling me - it's too big and I'm too flawed to do it properly. We impact each other eternally, and I'm terrified of messing up!

Thank you for this affirmation to keep going. God IS loving. He's not surprised that I'm 'too flawed' - and not only is it 'okay' and he can work with that, but it's his PLAN - this is how he will be glorified.

Wow. Blows my mind.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Midday Escapades said...

Oh so glad to hear that the speaking engagement well. I always look forward to reading your messages. I'm amazed by your insight. I swear you have a direct line to God.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Wonderful story of God equipping you to get the job done!

I'm registered for the conference. :)

Blessings,
Susan

6:59 PM  
Blogger karen hopkins said...

I give a high five, sister , for sharing your heart with others , whether in a room full of people, or via online blogging posts, such as this. When we think we can't do what God calls us to do, and we step forward to at least TRY, thats when Father God raises us up in our faith, and proves His strength in how we share His powerful Truths.. This poem below came from a time when I was being called to speak before a large group also about my entire testimony .. " no Lord, I can't share ALL of me "... " Yes, Child, you can - for when you are weak, I am Strong"...
When in my weaknes Lord, this is when I am strong
Because when weary and alone, You are there.
But when this stubborn pride, Lord, gets in my way
I need Your forgiveness, because this sin is wrong..

in my weakness, Lord, show Yourself Strong
allowing others to know all that You can do
take from me these lies of the enemies snare
and by Your Grace, leading me closer, Lord , to You.

Take from me all that I might hold inside
weapons that keep me from experiencing all Your truth
Lord, I know every verse in the Word of God is real
Lord, lead me onward by that very Proof.

In my weakness, Father, I Praise your Name
for in it comes in the restoring of my soul
As You lead me daily to that Cross of Love
Oh God, in Your Strength, you long to make me whole.

8:16 PM  
Blogger karen hopkins said...

ack.. typed the first line wrong.

this is what it should say:

When in my weakness Lord, this is when YOU ARE ARE STRONG

sorry..

8:20 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Beautiful post! It's amazing that God often stretches us by using what we perceive to be our weak areas to help others.

BTW, congrats on your speaking engagement. What will you be speaking on?

9:49 PM  
Blogger Jean Wise said...

Thanks for visiting my blog too. Just love how you write with open honesty. I think often we use what we perceive as weakness as excuses to hide. God gently nudges us to peel back our false self where we discover all of his wonderful gifts. You are an encourager, helping us to relook at ourselves in new ways. Thank you

7:59 AM  
Blogger Racquel Simone said...

Congrats on being "chosen" for the conference :)

8:54 AM  
Blogger Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Good for you, Alisa! Congrats on your speaking, and I PRAISE GOD that He is using you in this way.

I would love to hear you speak at some time. Your words are such a blessing here, on the computer screen. I would love to see them come to Technicolor life from you in 3D!!

9:48 PM  
Blogger CHRISTINE said...

this is a beautiful post. never stop talking.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

FANTASTIC!! thanks for these thoguhts!!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

Wow, God has really taken you on quite the journey! How exciting to be able to write AND speak. Some of us would rather hide behind the keyboard...ouch! God just hit me over the head with a 2x4!

2:09 PM  
Blogger alwayshopeful said...

great post girl and good luck on the upcoming engagement! wanted to stop in and say hello.Isn't God wonderful?!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Janet said...

thanks for the encouragement. It scares me to talk in front of people. But, last year I went to a middle school and spoke before 6th graders about a book I wrote, with each class I spoke in front of, it got easier.You just have to take that first step and he'll do the rest.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Life Laugh Latte said...

So reassuring to remember that God works best thru weakness. Of course weakness isn't celebrated in our culture is it. There are so many times I get asked to lead or do something at church and my answer feels so clearly NO. But the other day a new friend that had heard me speak many times at different mom type venues asked me if she could pass my name around the MOPS groups in the Bay Area. I got that sick, oh my gosh, yup that's it feeling. The same feeling I get when I know God's workin something out. Thanks for sharing your story. Holly

7:46 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

How fabulous that you had the faith in God to work through what you perceived as a weakness. Wonderful post.

8:38 AM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

OK, I don't want to be selfish...but I am pretty sure this post was meant just for me.

Thanks for sharing such inspiration....

4:01 PM  
Blogger Janna Qualman said...

That's great blessing, Alisa! If we remember it's what we're called to do, we can take comfort in that and shine.

Thanks for the encouragement!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Warren Baldwin said...

I've learned how troublesome voice problems can be. I've had vocal chord problems for a year - not good for a preacher/teacher. Have to watch what I eat and drink at certain times, can't cheer at ballgames, etc. Often can't record my radio messages. But, like you, I'm learning to carry on. Inspiring post, Alisa.

What is linkedh?

wb

9:30 PM  
Blogger J. L. W. said...

What a great post! Sometimes it is hard to see past your weaknesses. God definitely works in amazing ways.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Gaia said...

This is a great posts and I totally agree with it. God speaks the loudest when you are at your weakest.
Bless you.

6:42 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

More great thoughts...

I do some speaking but am not getting the contacts I'd like. Not sure how to move ahead with all of it. Just trusting God and being obedient as he leads.

peace~elaine

10:04 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

It is very true that God can use us through our weaknesses, sometimes I think he uses them to our advantage. He encourages to go out on a limb and see what we can do when we never thought it would be possible. I love that.

7:13 PM  

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