There was a movie I watched years ago where one of the characters described another character like an onion. She spoke about her friend this way: in order to get to who he really was they would have to peel back the layers. Layers can protect, but over time they can also become very heavy and can even bring decay to the core. As “A Work in Progress” we must learn to allow God to lift the layers, helping us get from where we are to where He knows that we can be.
So what are the layers that need to be lifted?
Among all of our strengths come some weaknesses. What is interesting is that one’s weakness could be another person’s strength. This is actually how we compliment each other as well as drive each other crazy. A passive person could carry a weakness of laziness while at the same time an active person could become burdened with work. The challenge is that layers do not feel heavy as they lay on one by one; the weight of the burden is not usually felt until there are many layers piled on; then crushing the core. By this point the core usually becomes hardened to strengthen its position. When we recognize a weakness typically we want to bury ourselves in the strength of that opposite area of our personality, but in doing so we often keep allowing that weakness to pile on.
So, how do we effectively peel back the layers while keeping our core strength in tact?
We simply need to allow God to help us peel away the layers. Whether we have one or multiple layers weighing us down it is always best to ask God to show us how to do the peeling. Sometimes a layer of weakness needs to be pulled quickly like a Band-Aid. Often times God will send another person to remove a burden for us. And even other times God will reveal to us a weakness over time. As we recognize it for what it is; the next time it tries to overtake us we will be wiser to resist it.
I remember a time when I had buried myself in work and responsibilities; had I yanked it off all at once I would have hurt others as well as myself. I knew how I had gotten there, but I did not know how to get out from under those layers without falling apart. I did not have the answer, but I knew God did (and always will). I asked for forgiveness, because no matter which way I sliced it I had to admit that I had done this to myself. I had said yes to my schedule; to the layers that I was carrying. I then asked God to help me each day as together we then began to peel the layers off safely and effectively.
When we do things on our own eventually we will either fall apart or be crushed by our own lack of “peeling” wisdom. God gave us our strengths and He is very aware of our weaknesses, so who better to help us carry our work load. Here is to becoming an “appealing” Christian so our work, with God, will not be crushed or burdened but instead progress.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”
(Phil. 4:13 NKJV)