Lean into your weakness to become stronger

A few weeks ago I felt all worthless and sad and went around in my Distraught Pants, staring out the window wondering if my life was totally and completely meaningless.

But then I got down with my organized self and by the time last week ended, I had successfully managed to accomplish everything on my To-Do List. And I feel all happy again--which is awesome since being happy is pretty much my moral obligation to my family.

The problem a few weeks ago was that I was In Transition. School had ended and the onus was upon me to create a structure upon which to hang the hours of our day. I felt unmoored. I was skittering off track. I don't do well with Transitions. (Can you guess where my son got his ADD?!).

But now I've managed to haul myself back into a structured life and I'm happy again. Oddly enough, life is more physically taxing and difficult right now, but I'm actually happier. In fact, last week at Mass I found myself wishing the Catholic Church would go back to the Latin Mass because, um, I like difficulty.

YES, I'm a glutton for pain. Pain makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. When I go to church, I need to feel like I've suffered a bit. Go ahead and blame this on my fundamentalist childhood--the point is, redemptive suffering makes me happy. Yes, I am messed up. This we know.

Speaking of suffering, I've been teaching this writing workshop to a bunch of kids and I've noticed something that has really put me to shame. The Asian kids in my class intentionally lean into their weakness in order to become stronger writers. There is something really beautiful about the way Asian parents raise their kids: they are not afraid of letting their children suffer. In other words, they force their kids to do the hard things, the things that don't come naturally to them. My classes sell out in less than 24 hours mainly because the Asian parents are so keen on having their kids defeat their weakness.

Now, I realize I'm generalizing, here. Nobody needs to pop up in the comment box to inform me that NOT ALL Asian parents are this way. I know. I know. But let me just say: the difference was so stark and obvious in my writing workshop that it put ME to shame.

I realized I have sorta coddled my kids. I don't make them intentionally lean into their weakness. I want them to be happy and have fun--I don't want them to suffer.

Well, no longer. My kids were super thrilled to hear me announce that the rest of the summer is going to be work, work, work.

And that means me, too.

I'm leaning into my weakness by going to Bolivia. Have I mentioned I'm not a traveller-type-person? Have I mentioned I'm a resolute homebody? Yes, going to Bolivia is how I'm intentionally going FAR BEYOND my ability.

And instead of trying to cover up my weakness by focusing on my strengths, I'm leaning into my weakness to become stronger.

Are you?