At the beginning of the New Year I found myself overwhelmed by stress and anxiety as I looked ahead at the coming semester. A year before I had expected to feel triumphant and successful at this point, with one semester left in my college. Instead I was simply tired. My body was tired from the illnesses that had hit me towards the end of first semester and lasted all the way through Christmas break. My brain was tired of nearly four years of intense study and expanding.
I'd done what I could to trust God throughout, and while He had been with me at every time, I still felt unsure about the future. I still doubted my ability to make it through in one piece. Looking ahead at everything now I can still feel the same rush of worry. In addition to the regular load of class, study, and work, I have a senior thesis to prepare for and a wedding to plan. There are times in the cold gray mornings when I bundle up and trudge out for another math class that I doubt that I can do it.
Reflections like these made me, at the beginning of the year, and continue to make me now, resolve on a new concept to focus on these next few months, and that is the concept of being weak. More specifically, to acknowledge my weakness, to embrace it, and to thank God that I can't do it, because as soon as I admit my weakness, He can fill me with his strength.
This should be a familiar concept to me. My senior thesis is all about the importance of weakness in the spiritual life, and the necessity of rejecting our own strength in favor of God's power. But there's a gap between theory and practice, and something that I spend my days studying can be easy to forget when it comes to living life.
But I need to really live it this year. I need to let go of empowering statements. I need to stop telling myself all the time that I can do this. I need to wake up every morning and look at things squarely and admit: I can't do this.
I can't is the first step to saying God can. And that's the only way that anything good can really be accomplished: by letting go of our own strengths and our trust in them, and opening our hearts to the work of God.
So this semester, this year, and for the rest of my life, I'll be trying to really make the words of St. Paul a reality in my life. Weakness is the key. Instead of seeing my weakness and being anxious, I'll see my weakness and glory in it.
And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee: for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ. For when I am weak, then am I powerful.