I have slow feet. One of my favorite sports to play is basketball. I’m a decent player; over time my game has improved. I’m a better shooter, ball handler, and passer now than when I was when I was younger. But I’ve still got slow feet. If I play you and you have any quickness at all, I’m going to give you the three point shot and do my best to close out on you if you take it. Otherwise, you’re just going to go right around me to the hoop every time.
I compensate for my weaknesses on a basketball court. If I’m lucky and you haven’t played me much, I hope that you won’t know about this weakness. I hope that you don’t have quickness and a three point shot.
Boxers who have been hurt do the same thing. They might drop their gloves to compensate for a bruised rib or over-rely on their dominant hand if their non-dominant shoulder is hurt.
We all have weaknesses and insecurities. Where are your weaknesses? How are you compensating for them? How are you closing yourself off relationally or spiritually from having those insecurities addressed?
Most of us try to hide and compensate for our weaknesses. We are afraid of what others will think of us or we are embarrassed we haven’t been able to get ongoing sin under control. This is one of the great lies of the enemy: that masking our inadequacies is the best way to deal with them, that sharing them will make things worse, and that we can fix them on our own.
Those who are closest to us will probably not be that surprised by our struggles. In fact, they can be an important mirror to us. When was the last time you asked someone close to you what your weaknesses are? When was the last time you shared with someone near to you your struggles? We need to take the risk to ask godly people around us to be mirrors and to be partners in godliness.
It helps my team if they know that if I need to play up closer to a good three-point shooter, that I will likely need help if he gets past me. I don’t do anyone any good by pretending I’m something I’m not.
As a leader, I am weak at diving into the details. I tend to skim, processing the big picture. My eyes glaze over when I read a contract. I throw away the annual reports my investment companies send. As a leader, I am responsible to not shirk learning those details where I need to, but even in doing so, it doesn’t do me any good to pretend to know what I don’t know. I’m going to get a lot further when I am honest with my team about this weakness (which they probably already know!) and lean on others who are stronger in this area. Pretending that my weakness is a strength diminishes the contribution of others who actually have that strength and erodes trust when my weakness is, inevitably, revealed.
I recently had a man I was counseling share that he had finally opened up to his men’s group about a struggle he had been dealing with in his marriage. His response was that “I found out that this was something a lot of guys had dealt with, some at even more significant degrees than I was dealing with it.” This after decades of trying to put up a public façade. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard those same words. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. Don’t believe that the best way to deal with your sin, your weaknesses, is to cover it up.