Embrace your “weaknesses”: how I’m embracing mine

I was recently super-inspired and deeply moved by the following TEDTalk.

Quick Summary: Phil Hansen, an artist, developed a debilitating shake in his hand that prevented him from producing his special, pointillist artworks. He became depressed and completely gave up art. Then, during a doctor’s appointment, the doctor casually suggested that he “embrace the shake.” He once again took up art, but in a new style — adapted to his new ailment. Eventually, after creating some stunning pieces (including the one seen below; watch the video to learn its fascinating story) Hansen realized that his “weakness” or “disability” had become his unique ability.

"A Moment" by Phil Hansen
“A Moment” by Phil Hansen

Hansen’s testimony touched me so deeply because I have walked in his shoes several times over. After experiencing trauma from an unhealthy (past) relationship, I developed fibromyalgia. “Fibro” is a little-understood, physical condition that leaves me hyper-sensitive to pain or pressure, and sometimes extremely exhausted. Before I was married, my fibro – at its worst – kept me in bed all day, hardly able to walk. In addition to this physical weakness, after experiencing my emotional wounds, I also gave up my lifelong hobbies of creating art and writing poetry.

So I could relate to Phil Hansen – not only as someone with physical weakness, but also with psychological wounds that left me defensive and afraid of vulnerability.

Over time, I’ve learned to embrace these things that “hold me back.” Fibromyalgia has taught me that I desperately depend on God for everything. I’ve learned that when I fail to entrust everything to God and fail to depend on Him like a child, I am sufficiently lacking. My being prone to weakness has become a spiritual insight & strength.

Recently, with the help of my support network and a professional counselor, I’ve been slo-o-o-wly taking up art and poetry again. I’m also sharing my story with fellow women. Fighting through my impulse to RUN!! from any sign of vulnerability, I am learning about “safe vulnerability” – knowing when it’s OK to show that I’m a broken human being. My moments of weakness have already begun giving hope to others.

My ultimate message today, dear reader, is simply this: If your weakness is sin, do like Christ commands us and get rid of it. If your weakness is not a sin, but a physical disability or an experience of emotional trauma, seek the proper professional to help you learn to live life more abundantly! Any physical or emotional wound that God allows, He always transforms…

but first surrender it, into His hands.

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2 comments

  1. This is lovely, Angela. I’m inspired by Phil and also by you; thanks for sharing your story. It’s wonderful that you’re making your way back to art and poetry.

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