Planning to Fail: What does the Bible say about weaknesses?

Were you ever asked to make a five year plan in school? Or a ten year plan? I HATED those kinds of assignments. 

My answers were always vague and non-committal. How could I know what I might be doing that far into the future? And what if I have a five year plan that ends up being completely off? It felt like writing something down and it not happening was some form of failure.

But what if we plan to fail?

Hear me out—I’m not saying to be a bum and do nothing. Instead, that our perspectives of weakness and failure are incredibly skewed.

Have you heard of StrengthsQuest? I love that assessment! The basic premise is this: There are 34(?) strengths acknowledged by the assessment. You answer questions, and you are told what your top five strengths are. 

You can learn more about StrengthsQuest here:

The focus of the assessment is on the strengths you already have, rather than making up for the weaknesses. It’s a huge breath of fresh air—focusing on how you are gifted, not on minimizing weaknesses.

I am a big fan of this concept, but it begs the question, what if we were more vulnerable and open with others even when it gets messy? Because, as we know, life IS messy.

I’m challenged by Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 and his perspective on weakness. He writes in verse 10,

“Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Just before this statement, Paul is talking about having a thorn in the flesh—a weakness of some kind that challenges how he does ministry. He even says that he has asked God to remove the weakness, and instead, that God has responded by saying that His (God’s) power is perfected in weakness.

Equally striking, then, is Paul’s perspective shift: “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (verse 9).

In the midst of our culture saying that we must prove ourselves, achieve more, highlight our strengths — we are told that we can be content in our weaknesses.

I’ll admit that I often feel VERY weak and untalented. Almost daily. I am ridiculously un-athletic, have zero musical ability, and when I paint, it’s not done to give myself a confidence boost. Often times, I can hide or avoid these things.

Because guess what? That’s what we do.

We hide the areas of our lives we dislike or personality traits that we deem undesirable. We still see them in ourselves and know that they exist, but we seem to think that if no one else encounters them, the battle is nearly won.

God is saying something completely different!

If we are followers of Christ, then we must believe that His grace is sufficient for us, “For power is perfected in weakness” (verse 9).

We need to apply this truth about His grace to further and deeper areas of our life—to the extent that we can be REAL about our weaknesses—that all the more God may be glorified.

I challenge you to embark on this with me (and hold me accountable)—to “plan to fail” of sorts, in order that He, not I, would be glorified.


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1 thought on “Planning to Fail: What does the Bible say about weaknesses?

  1. It’s good to think about the fact that we just might “fail” at what we want to do (teach, preach a sermon, host a kid’s birthday party, etc).

    I often think of how a situation will go, and if I think of it going well, it doesn’t go how I think it will. If I think about it going terribly, it usually doesn’t.

    With conversations, no matter how I imagine the conversation, I always “win” with having the best points and comebacks. I “plan ahead” so that I’ll be prepared. But the conversation NEVER goes the way I think it will.

    All that to say, I need to try to stop imagining how I think a scenario will go and just know that God will use it for his glory. If I do poorly, then hopefully I respond well and the aroma of Christ can be spread.

Let me know what you think!

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