Thursday, October 09, 2008

one's Achilles' heel

I recall an important spiritual leader and exemplar of my past, saying something like, "Everyone has their Achilles' heel." In my case I'm wondering if I have two Achilles' heels, not more being possible only because I have just two heels!

Back to the desert post of yesterday, which for me may become an important theme in days to come. It seems like the working out of all the confusion and struggle in our lives, while done with us and God, is also to be done in the midst of others. And not apart from others, or in what constitutes real life for most of us, and actually to remain in relationship with others is a part of real life.

I find this over and over in my life. When I awaken feeling like an Achilles' heel has either taken me down, or is making me limp with pain, I go through what I must do, including posting for the blog, go to work doing what needs to be done with others. And ordinarily, however it happens, the Lord gives me a sense of renewed vision and strength. Part of the desert for me may be partly in what can be seen as the daily mundane routine. Yet in that, as I seek God in his word, and in the midst of seeking to love God and love others, I find some sort of equilibrium as in balance, and some healing and renewing of spirit.

But our Achilles' heel can help us look to God, and keep looking to God. What if we really had no perceived Achilles' heel? Would God let us get away with that in this world? I think not. We remember Jacob wrestling with a strange man,
and in that wrestling- related to Jacob praying I take it, yet as in a real hand to hand struggle- Jacob prevails so that the man has to touch the socket of Jacob's hip to end the struggle. Jacob then went through the rest of his life with a limp, always a reminder of his prevailing with God, yet at the same time surely a reminder of his ongoing need for God. And perhaps of rising above one's own weaknesses in prayer to God so as to find God's answer to every need.

Yet with Jacob as Israel, this became a way of life. He walked through life with a limp. An Achilles' heel? I'm not sure. But the limp would remind him anew and afresh everyday just where his help really came from. Not himself, but the Lord. We are so prone to forget, so that a renewed sense of weakness can strengthen our sense of dependence on God. That is the blessing of an Achilles' heel. We need such to keep us humble and teachable as well as dependent on God.

What thought might you like to add about one's Achilles' heel?


Crowm said...

Hey Ted!

You said: "But our Achilles' heel can help us look to God, and keep looking to God."

Isn't that what life is all about? Many times, I've thought of myself as having spiritual attention deficit disorder. God wants to do things in me and through me; however, because of my lack of focus, He chooses other ways to accomplish His will (to my loss). It's only when we focus on our destiny (to Love God and Love others - some might say Jesus Creed) that God uses us for great things.

The Achilles heels in our lives are there to allow us to refocus. You've mentioned Jacob. For Elijah, it was being fed by ravens etc. For Peter, it was his tendancy to speak quickly. For Paul, it was a thorn in the flesh. Whatever it is for us, we must be grateful. After all, our Achilles heel allows us to sense God's grace and refocus on what we're to be about.

As always, good stuff Bro!


Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thoughts. Never thought of Elijah or Peter in this connection in the way you describe them, but that's good. Thanks!