Friday, February 17, 2017

Five Minute Friday: WEAK





I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday;  today's word is WEAK.

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As I mentioned last time, I teach an online course in essay-writing at Queen's University. A couple of weeks ago I was checking email on a Sunday afternoon and saw a message from a student who wanted me to look at her plans for the assignment she was working on, due the next day. It quickly became clear that this student needed some help to get on the right track. I made a few suggestions that I hoped would help her clarify her ideas so that she'd ultimately do much better on the assignment.

A little while later I received this reply:

"Thank you for taking time out of your Sunday afternoon to point out these flaws of mine."

She wasn't just grateful that I'd gone out of my way to accommodate her on a weekend ... she was grateful to have her flaws pointed out. 

And not only that: she asked for it! 

I don't make a point of asking others to comment on my weaknesses, at least not often. I do share my writing with my writers' group, and I try to welcome critical comments as well as praise -- but in general I find criticism painful, so I don't go around inviting others to "point out these flaws of mine."

Maybe I should, though. The Bible says that God's strength is perfected in weakness (II Cor. 12:9) and that God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong (I Cor. 1:27). 

So maybe I should be more open to recognizing my own weaknesses so that I can be more aware of the exact places in my life that God is showing his strength and power.

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18 comments:

  1. I'm with you...I hate criticism. To get better at dealing with it, I should invite it into my life more. Thanks for your thoughtful words!

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    1. Thank you, Kathryn. I appreciate you stopping by to read.

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  2. I love it when God uses my kids or my students to teach me! Okay... maybe I should say appreciate. I don't know that I'll ever learn to love being corrected - but I do want to learn! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. And thanks for reading, Richelle. This was a good prompt. I'm really enjoying the Five Minute Friday community.

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  3. I should be more open to people pointing out my weaknesses but I'm not. It's one of my weaknesses.

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  4. My mind shouts my weaknesses at me fairly loudly. When someone pony them out, I say 'moooh, I know , I know. And, I'm slightly suspicious when people point out strengths. Part of this is req ruin to all hese months of fatigue, I think. But it is a strong thing to open your hands, release your work, and say ''tell me what I could do better. We all could do more of that, in trusted places.

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    1. That's really interesting, Gwen,that you're suspicious when people point out strengths. Depending on the circumstances (and the source), we can be as resistant to accepting the good about ourselves as we are the bad. And I agree with you about the "trusted places" part. If we trust the source, we trust what they say, good or bad. I was doing a Beth Moore study at church last night and we were discussing her point that we must not only agree with Jesus about our sin; we must also agree with Jesus that we are loved and forgiven. If we accept only the first, we become discouraged and hopeless, but if we accept only the second, we remain blind to our need for God's work in our lives. So it really matters who we are listening to, in either case. Thanks for reading and commenting; I really like what you've said.

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  5. Great post, jeannie. When I learned the dark skills and fell methods that defined my personality for life, very harsh criticism was meted out for even the smallest mistakes...because those could get me or my guys killed, or far worse, captured.

    It didn't help me develop a thick skin - the criticisms HAD to hurt to be effective. But I would not have traded the experience.

    #1 at FMF this week.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/02/your-dying-spouse-275-i-hope-you-dance.html

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    1. Thanks Andrew, for this comment. I assume you are speaking of the military: I wonder, in that context, if you always have a sense of ultimate purpose for the criticism or even suffering you're experiencing, and you accept that for the greater good? That is very interesting how you say that the criticism needed to hurt to work. Maybe the concept of "thick skin" is overrated, in general. The Bible talks about wounds from a friend -- not "what would have been wounds if we hadn't hardened ourselves so that they hardly hurt at all..." Thanks again, and I'm glad to have connected with you via FMF.

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  6. What a great perspective on growth! I don't like people pointing out my flaws either, but I think it's really healthy as writers and as people (gulp.) Good for you for being in a writing group and helping an up and coming wordsmith. A fmfparty friend in spot #75. Blessings!

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    1. Thanks, Christina - I appreciate you coming by to read and comment. I'm really enjoying the FMF community; this was a good prompt!

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  7. How true! Interesting how God's kingdom is usually the opposite of what we naturally feel or think. It's comforting to realize that God can use our weakness to show his strength.

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    1. It is. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ann: I appreciate that!

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  8. Wow! Thank you for taking time to point out these flaws of mine. Talk about humility. I think I'm going to have to remember this sentence and all it represents. I guess I should welcome criticism(when it's goal is to help), but it IS painful. :)

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    1. Yes, sometimes my students can be so disarming in this way -- it's so refreshing.

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  9. Oh that paradox-what we need is often what we fear. I once had an elderly man in my congregation who would give me constructive criticism whenever I preached (I was an intern). That can be a dangerous area but he would always tell me he wanted me to get better. It's a gift to be able to clarify in love the weak area of another.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Stephanie. That must have been challenging -- to know how to respond to that older man with respect and grace. Sometimes we seek out mentor types that we WANT to challenge and correct us; and other times people appoint themselves to that role in our lives. :-) But there can still be a lot of value there, and I'm sure you learned from it!

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