I like pencils…

I know. It’s a random fact, isn’t it? I really like to use pencils. A nice, sharp pencil. Especially when I’m writing in my journal or making a list. I don’t like to cross things off if I make a mistake. I don’t want to scribble it out. I just want to be able to erase it and start over. Write it differently. Pencil makes it easy to change. A pen is so unforgiving….but a pencil? With a pencil there is lots of grace. I had to fill out a paper to use in my annual review recently…

I know. It’s a random fact, isn’t it? I really like to use pencils. A nice, sharp pencil. Especially when I’m writing in my journal or making a list.

I don’t like to cross things off if I make a mistake. I don’t want to scribble it out. I just want to be able to erase it and start over. Write it differently. Pencil makes it easy to change.

A pen is so unforgiving….but a pencil? With a pencil there is lots of grace.

I had to fill out a paper to use in my annual review recently, and I used a pen. The questions were pretty basic stuff:

What were your accomplishments?

What was your greatest victory?

What are your goals for 2015, personal, family, and ministry?

What are your perceived strengths?

What are your perceived weaknesses?

Hmmm. What are my perceived weaknesses? I texted my husband for his take, and for some reason he responded, “No way! I’m not answering that loaded question.” Ha ha. I don’t blame him. Smart man. 🙂

I have them. I know I have them. And to be honest, there probably wasn’t enough room on the page to write them all down.

But do you know what I did? I skipped that question. I didn’t write an answer down. Nobody wants to see that in black and white. Especially when you’re writing in pen. It seems so permanent.

My inability to write my weaknesses down really got me to thinking.

Why? Why didn’t I want to see them? What was I afraid of?

Was I afraid that if I acknowledged them, the Lord would somehow decide he couldn’t use me?

Did it make them more real if I wrote them down?

But in the end, I think I didn’t want to write them down because I was using a pen. A permanent, non-erasable, ink pen that couldn’t be changed.

So I got up early this morning, and I got out my journal and my pencil and I wrote them down. Well, I wrote a couple of them down. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself too much.

And I remembered what Paul had to say about weaknesses:

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

More grace? More of His power in me? Yes, please! I want more of His power, don’t you?

My weaknesses have become my goals. What I want to grow in. What I want to change.

I wrote them in pencil because they aren’t a permanent part of who I am. They are places of my life that need His power. And when I’m weak, He is strong in me.

At the end of 2015 when someone looks at me and says, “Toni, you’ve really changed. This (insert weakness here) is so different about you. You’re not the same,” I’m going to be able to say, “It wasn’t me. It was God’s power at work in me.”

I am a work in progress. We all are. I’m so glad I’m not who I was 24 years ago when I started this walk with the Lord, and I’m not done yet. I have overcome so much, but there’s still some work to be done here.

I want to be even more like Him.

God doesn’t expect perfection in us, and we need to just relax about it. He knows we have weaknesses, and He loves us and accepts us and uses us just the same.

Use a pencil when you write about yourself. And when you write about others (but that’s a whole other blog post, isn’t it?) We don’t have to be afraid of our weaknesses or hide them. We just need to hold them up to Him and say, “Lord, more power here please.”

And He’ll probably respond, “Aha! I was just waiting for you to ask. Let me help you with that. Don’t worry. I don’t use a pen on these things. With My help, we’ll be able to erase this lickety split.”

Lord, make me more like You!

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