Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning Weaknesses into Strengths (170.2)

I often curse my weaknesses, wishing I was something better or different than what I am. 

As I grow older and more mature, and just plain more experienced and appreciative of who I am, it is being revealed to me that the very weaknesses I see are leading to strengths.

Here are a few.

*Weakness: I have struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for years.  Last year was one of the worst.  It can sometimes be crippling, and I have hated this disorder and what it does to me for a long time.

This year, I have prepared myself by investing in a quality light therapy box and started light therapy two weeks ago.  Every morning I sit in front of this light for 30 minutes. 

Strength:  I don't just sit for 30 minutes, though.  I am reading my Bible. I go to church on Sundays, I teach the 2-3 year old Sunday School class, and I sing in the choir.  But my relationship with God often feels "one way"--like I send out my requests and pleas for help, but I don't take the time to listen or accept the gift of his Word.

These past two weeks have not only helped eliminate my SAD symptoms--truly, the light therapy is proving remarkable for my energy level--but my faith and relationship with God is being strengthened. 

Because of SAD, I am growing in my faith in a way I would never have made time for without the excuse of light therapy.

*Weakness:  My hips and thighs.  My rear view is THE reason I want to lose more weight.  If I were proportional and didn't have the ugly fat pockets of my saddlebags, I would most likely be happy with my weight and wearing size 12s.

*Strength: Because I want to get rid of this fat permanently, I am eating healthier than I ever have.  My mood is better and more stable. My skin, hair and nails are stronger and clearer.  Certainly there are internal organs that are getting healthier, too. 

I'm exercising because I want the fat gone forever, but exercise will make my bones stronger and my muscles grow, so that when I'm 80 I can get myself up and down without assistance.

Because of my saddlebags, I'm making changes that will help me live longer for my kids and grandkids.

*Weakness: I have emotional damage from my childhood that has negatively influenced the last 30 years of my life.  The primary reason for my obesity is because of what happened to me when I was 12 years old.  There are issues other than weight that resulted from my childhood baggage--fear, anxiety, OCD, the need for control, attachment issues.... there are certainly more. 

*Strength:  I found an amazing therapist this year, who has helped me work through all these issues.  Because I had this baggage to work through and heal, I now have more patience for others when they are struggling.  I have a better skill set to help my kids deal with their concerns.  I am learning to be a better listener, a better wife, a better sister, a better daughter, and a better friend. 

Weakness doesn't have to derail me.  It doesn't mean failure. It doesn't mean inferior.  It doesn't mean hopeless. 

Weakness allows me to examine the why's of my life.  Socrates said "the unexamined life isn't worth living."  Therefore, because of weakness, my life is worth living. 

Weakness is an opportunity to let something new happen in my life. And that something new may be beyond anything I could ever hope for or imagine.


Laura N said...

Age is another one. Almost every day I see some change in my body that is because I am getting older--my hands have sticky-out veins, the skin around my knuckles are lose (like I remember my grandmother's hands), some of my gray hair is still there after I color it, I have hair growing on my chin that was never there before (sorry, I know, TMI, but it's true).

But if I weren't older, how would I have gained all this knowledge? I am closer to peace and acceptance as a 41 year old than I ever was in my youth.

What are some of your weaknesses you see becoming strengths?

Laura N said...

skin is "loose" not "lose"

yes, grammar crazy is another weakness of mine.... not sure how that's a strength, haha

Jill said...

Laura this post makes me want to cry. It is so sweet to see you loving things about yourself and realizing that your weaknesses are making you stronger. It really just makes me want to reach through the internets and hug you silly!

Love you bunches, sister! xoxo

Vickie said...

such a good post.

and really what I needed to read tonight - very peaceful.

I almost left you a comment this morning that said - if you are too busy, just leave 5 (or was it 7?) word posts like people used to do long ago (remember that discussion?). Looks like you found a bit of time to talk to yourself and very glad I stopped by for a listen.

Laura N said...

thank you, girls. this one made me cry, too, while I was writing it, and when I re-read it. the posts that make me cry are the ones I know are the most significant--and tell the deepest truths--for me.

debby said...

I really liked this too Laura. Love that you found that time with the light box to read your Bible--so much more 'enlightening' than the computer (talking to myself here!)

Shauna said...

Wow what a brilliant post. Such a great way to look at things. Really loving your posts Laura, thank you for sharing with us!