The Biggest Loser is a television series where contestants who are overweight leave their loved ones temporarily to join a community of people who will push them to achieve their goals of weight loss over a short period of time. In the end one of the contestants is named “ the biggest loser”, and a picture of them is shown from before the show began. People cheer as the “new” version of themself arrives in their best attire, and they are reunited with their proud families. Oddly enough, I feel like the Nashville Fellows Program is something very similar for me.
When it comes to personal growth I am a lot like those contestants. I arrived in Nashville, having left my family and friends, to strengthen my relationship with Christ. I get frustrated when I clearly see the areas I need to work on, but no matter how hard I seem to try my strength hasn’t been producing results as fast as I would like. Unfortunately, I’m learning that this amazing transformation isn’t an overnight ordeal, but will take constant persistence. I have learned that growing in my relationship with God takes coaching, unlearning old habits, as well as, installing new ones. I am learning that it hurts to work through the hard things, realizing how weak I currently am. But I’m also learning that places of pain and weakness are where growth will happen.
Unlike the contestants on the show, I’m realizing that my weaknesses are what give me strength, God’s strength. I used to feel the need to try to prove to God that I would be strong enough on my own, and that I’d use my strength to glorify Him, but somehow that always resulted in exhaustion, failing, and shame. In the realization of my “cosmic plagiarism”, I’m learning that being “strong” is letting God show His strength through helping my weakness. It’s not meant to be done on my own. By finding and admitting my weaknesses, it allows me to have an intimacy with God because it is only by God’s strength that I endure the hard moments, have hope, and produce growth. This intimacy leaves me in celebration of my God’s strength and thankful for my weaknesses.
Although this program might not end in confetti cannons and a marvelous “before” and “after” reveal, I know I can look at my “old” self, and see the growth I have found in this short amount of time. I know that I am able to love bigger and better because God loves me and chooses me in my weakness. Any strength I have now is found in God, who is and has always been faithful to me.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10