What if you didn’t have to hide your weaknesses anymore?
Samaritan Ministries member Todd Lollar was never given that option. Slow-moving, speech-impeded, cerebral-palsied, and wheelchair-bound, Todd’s physical weaknesses were always apparent. Escaping them was impossible. But, through God’s movement in the trials of his life, Todd became deeply thankful for what most everyone else would consider devastating. Journey with Todd as he discovers, experiences, and lives the triumphant truth of 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
Roll with Todd through the pages of his life. Lean on his weak frame. And let him guide you to the One who will also show you that weak is the new strong.
Be encouraged by how God has used Todd’s speaking ministry around the world and learn about Mobilize Ministries, which Todd founded to mobilize missional living, helping Christians expand the good news of Jesus and His kingdom among their existing spheres of influence.
From Foreword by Jase Robertson of Duck Dynasty
... a buddy of mine called me and said “I heard you are going to Southlake, Texas, and you must meet Todd Lollar. He shares Jesus as much as, or even more than, you and your dad.” That got my attention because my dad is Phil Robertson. My dad has been sharing Jesus to everyone within earshot since I was a teenager. ... This book is about God using our weakness as his strength. When Todd sent me this book, I read it from start to finish in one sitting. I could not put it down. It is real, useful, and inspirational, with a touch of humor. It is motivational to see a man who has endured so much pain, frustration, and challenge in his life have such a sense of humor woven through his God-transformed character. The irony of meeting Todd at a speaking event is that my biggest weakness has always been shyness and public speaking. God changed that into a strength! It is what God does. I am honored to know Todd and his beautiful family, and I wholeheartedly support what he has written in this book. ... Enjoy this book and the transformation God brings with it.
From Chapter 1: Child of Weakness
My life nearly ended just as it began.
Seconds after I was born, blue-faced and barely breathing, the doctors rushed me out of the delivery room and put me on oxygen.
While I was struggling to live, my mother pleaded with God for my life. She shed no tears of fear or hopelessness. Rather, she trusted her creator. God calmed her soul and reassured her I would live. (Years later, he would fully answer her two-part prayer on my behalf.)
I am mobilized in a wheelchair. I specifically use that phrase because I am not totally or partially paralyzed. I could walk with a cane or walker if I chose to, but I choose not to. Why? Because my calling in life is to make a difference in other people’s lives, and I’ve discovered that society seems to be more accepting of someone approaching them in a wheelchair than someone who’s struggling to approach them. That’s the practical reason. More personally, my desire to help others far exceeds my desire to walk. Far from being a two-wheeled straitjacket for my legs, my wheelchair frees me to do life.
Another issue I must daily deal with is my speed. Even though my physical challenges have drastically improved as I’ve aged, one reality remains: I’m slow. I talk slowly. I move slowly. I do not get things done even close to as fast as you do. I’ve adapted, but my all-around slowness is still apparent, especially when I roll next to a friend on a walk. My gifts are much more relational—and slow. This slowness is an asset. Effective leadership isn’t about how much you can get done; it’s about how much of an impact you make. That doesn’t require speed.
It’s also amazing to see how God works when we just ... slow ... down. I’ve often noticed that people who claim to be too busy may be purposefully busy because they’re running away from deeper pain. They fill their time with things to do and places to be, and so God can’t speak into the empty silence of their hidden hurt. I’ve seen the roots of such pain come into the light of Christ’s healing simply because someone was forced to slow down when they spoke with me.
You and I are more alike than you may think. Whether you have CP or not, you were likewise born into weakness. You arrived into this world as a baby—the single most helpless being on the planet.
Every person is born into weakness! Even Jesus, being all powerful, was. It’s inevitable and inescapable.
Consider this: How much power did you have to control anything when you were born? Yes, you might have been able to bend your mother’s will to your bidding by wailing at just the right time, but that was your only way to communicate.
But you’re not weak only when you’re a baby. You remain weak for your entire life.
Even if you’re the model of physical fitness, a car crash can send you to the hospital in an instant. If you’re a genius, a neurological disease can wipe your memory over the course of a few years. A traumatic brain injury can do that in seconds. If you’re always in control of your feelings, one unexpected phone call can result in deep anguish, hatred, fear, or sadness.
I don’t necessarily want to write about such situations, because none of us wants to be in those situations, but those situations happen all the time; yet so many of us want to believe that our human bodies aren’t as frail and fleeting as they really are. The Bible tells us differently and in multiple instances:
- “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14b).
- “Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath” (Ps. 39:5).
- “Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow” (Ps. 144:4).
In other words, none of us is as strong as we think we are. The message of weakness as strength hits home to every human.
Hiding behind Strength
Our greatest collective weakness is mortality. No one lives without also dying. That’s morbid, I know, but it’s also the truth. Still, so much of our culture, especially in America, is focused on not focusing on dying. We want to stay forever young. We want to stay constantly amused. We want to stay alive as long as possible. In other words, we want to prove our strength against our greatest weakness.
But, at best, we’ve given temporary fixes to a “problem” we’re never going to solve. We hide behind the apparent strength of our medical advances so we don’t have to face the fact of our inherent, lifelong weakness. In a journey of striving to be strong and remain strong in every area of life, we run into the immense roadblock of weakness. It hits us like a brick. No matter how much we focus on being strong, a weakness in some area becomes all-encompassing the more it’s ignored.
Our weaknesses must be redeemed. We must allow Jesus to show us how he transforms all of our weaknesses into strengths. This redemption of our weaknesses is so possible that you’ll no longer want to escape through temporary fixes. Rather, you’ll learn to regard your weaknesses as God-given and purposeful for your life and calling.
Every person wrestles with his or her own specific weaknesses. When I talk about weaknesses, don’t automatically equate that with what may be the biggest problem-area in your life. That’s certainly a weakness you need to be aware of, but we all suffer from milder weaknesses that have a multiplying effect on our lives. Like rust on an abandoned car, these weaknesses slowly accrue on top of each other over time until they begin eating away at the body itself. Left unchecked and untreated, your minor weaknesses can severely damage you, given enough time:
- You define yourself by your weaknesses instead of seeing yourself through God’s eyes.
- You despise your weaknesses instead of rejoicing in them.
- You see so many barriers in your relationships that you can’t see over them to connect with people.
- You have big faith, but you think your prayer life is weak.
- You want to succeed in your career, but you feel inept, inexperienced, or unqualified.
- Your finances seem depleted, and you see no hope for provision.
- You want to help others, but you feel spiritually, mentally, or physically incapable.
- You love the people in your life, but you don’t see or know how to bless them.
- Yet we’re too often taught to disavow, cover up, or eradicate these issues so that we might be “strong.”
However, when we compensate for our weaknesses by only using our strengths, we’ll still find that something is lacking in our lives, because we’re not living 100 percent into our true identities. When you only live out your strengths, at best, you may only be living within a small portion of your full identity. When you choose to hide your weaknesses from others, you’ll never be fully known.
If you don’t believe my hypothesis that we’re conditioned to live only in our strengths, consider this: there’s not a book called WeakFinder. Rather, StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a perennial bestseller business book because it teaches people how to daily thrive in their gifts.
But what do we do with our weaknesses in life?