Where is Your Growing Edge? by Michael PfauJun 9th, 2009 | By Tony Stoltzfus | Category: Transformational Coaching - Guests Posts
Pastors, counselors, coaches–these are all professions that can make the practitioner appear to have it ‘all together’. In reality we are still human, and as humans we are subject to the same struggles of those with whom we work. Scripture says it well: “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” Since we all are subject to struggles, what can we do to deal with our own ‘demons’ while still being authentic with those we help? Here are a few thoughts that might help.
Awareness is the process of acknowledging what is there. Saying what is so. This includes what you are aware of and can clearly see like fear of taking risk. However, it also can be very useful to work with a trusted friend or colleague to help uncover what is not obvious to you. These may be things like a prevalent negative disposition or when a strength actually becomes a liability. We all are subject to blind spots and can gain immense help with raising awareness.
That’s right! Once you are aware of your Achilles heal you want to accept the fact that you are human and have human frailties. Don’t try to run from this or make excuses. This is actually a wonderful gift you can give to yourself and those with whom you work. Acceptance sounds like this, “Yes, I do get scared when confronting someone.” “Yes, I can dominate a discussion that I’m passionate about.”
Paul sought the Lord three times to have his ‘thorn in the flesh’ removed from him. Here is a scripture that might really stretch your thinking, I Cor. 12:7 “To keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud” (NLT). Based on this verse the amazing truth is that God actually allowed Satan to be used to build godliness in Paul by keeping him humble! If God can use the darkest form of ungodliness for His good purposes what can He do with our struggles and issues? The truth is that “He who began a good work in you will complete it” and He is not thwarted by any situation or circumstance.
Instead of boasting in his strengths and trying to excuse away or apologize for his weaknesses Paul actually reframed his strengths and his weaknesses from God’s perspective. After asking God to remove his ‘thorn in the flesh’ God said to Paul, ‘my power is made perfect in your weakness”. This allowed Paul to say, “when I am weak than I am strong”. He had an amazing vision in I Cor. 12 but as he relates his vision he doesn’t even credit himself with having the vision let alone boast in it as something to make himself to appear special and chosen by God, rather he says that “I know a man in Christ”. But when he relates his thorn in the flesh he is totally transparent about it. It’s his thorn and he is buffeted by it. He daily lived with the difficulty it brought to his life. It was such a source of frustration to him that he sought God three times to remove it. Can you relate! I sure can. I’ve prayed “God, I don’t like this person, circumstance or situation. Please remove it!”
So what are the thorns in your life? What is your growing edge? If you are really daring talk with a trusted friend or coach to help you raise your awareness of the areas of potential growth.
What perspective does God want you to have on yourself and your struggles? Be assured that God is totally able to help you in your growth to godliness.
How can you reframe your weaknesses, trials and struggles? What does resting in God’s strength look like for you in your weakness? Make it a goal to practice turning to God for power in your weakness. Each time you do this you can be sure that God is right there to meet you as He was for Paul. In fact, you too can boast in your weaknesses as you point out the evidence of God’s grace in your life as Paul did. My prayer is that as you seek God in your weaknesses and you will find His grace to be all sufficient in your personal and professional life.
Michael Pfau, M.Ed., PCC is an ordained minister, owner of Crossways Life Coaching, LLC and faculty member of the Professional Christian Coaching Program. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-461-6403.