“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.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9
The 2020 NFL draft proved to be a big one for a school not always associated with top football players. Its program has been rebuilding for several years and, thanks to a visionary coach and some exceptional players with a great work ethic, it has become a well-respected team that can play toe-to-toe with even the best programs in the country. A few years back, the Army football team wasn’t considered to be a big threat in college football. A losing season seemed the norm.
When Connor Slomka arrived at the United States Military Academy to play, he became part of a team that was determined to change the narrative. Four years later, he and his fellow seniors were proud to say they left the program better than they found it. With winning seasons all four years, three Army-Navy wins, and two Commander in Chief’s trophies, Army once again became an elite football school. And now, Slomka and two of his teammates are among the first players from West Point to sign an NFL contract in several years.
But Slomka says all the success he experienced during his four years pales in comparison to the biggest lesson he learned while a cadet at the Academy: exposing his weaknesses and learning to overcome them. In a recent interview, he revealed, “West Point — whatever it is that you’re good at or bad at — it’s going to find what your weaknesses are and … it doesn’t just teach you what the weaknesses are that you have, it teaches you how to overcome them and it teaches you what you need to focus on. So the weaknesses that West Point showed me have been countless, and I think it’s made me a way better athlete, person, scholar, leader, you name it … I hope that I can take that and approach the [NFL] with that same mentality that West Point has taught me because I’m sure that I have weaknesses that I don’t even know yet that I’ll get to see… and I hope that, just like West Point taught me, I’ll be resilient and be able to overcome them.”
In the same way, much of our journey as a Christian will necessitate us having our weaknesses exposed. Sometimes we have to get broken down in order to be built up. We have to get real with our flaws in order to become more like Jesus. Contrary to society’s view, the weaker you are, the more dependent on God you’ll become and the most useful you will be for His Kingdom.
Having the worst of ourselves brought to light is never comfortable and, oftentimes, it will hurt. But the end result will be one that we’ll thank God for some day, just as Slomka is grateful to West Point. And with every challenge life puts in front of us, we’ll take far more out of it if we walk into the experience being willing to grow, even when it means revealing the worst about ourselves.
— Katherine Singer
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