What’s your “Achilles heel” in life? Mine is literally my Achilles heel. I kid you not. I injured it for the second time in November (why does my late 40’s body refuse to work like it did in my 20’s, please?) and so I’ve been whining/ hobbling/ strengthening/ mostly whining about it ALL WINTER LONG. And here in Kelowna, B.C. it’s been a really long (whiny) winter! But it’s given me the opportunity to gingerly step out of my regular routine and see what other Achilles heels I might have lurking around…
“What actually IS an Achilles heel?” you may ask. In Greek mythology, it was foretold that baby Achilles would die young, so his mom dunked him entirely into a magical river by holding just his heel. Yay Mom! This worked like a charm, and grown-up Achilles was mighty in battle—until an arrow got him right in the heel, that one little place where he hadn’t been protected. Nowadays, we say, “An Achilles’ heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can actually or potentially lead to downfall.” Basically, it’s that sucky little part that can reek havoc.
Do you have a chink in your armour? I have PLENTY. Clearly, my mother completely forgot to dunk me in the magical river! Physical ailments aside, I have definite areas of vulnerability, things I get hung up on, issues that stand in the way of me living the fullest, most loving, Christlike life possible. If we’re honest we all have them. It can be anything from the more obvious tender spots of pain, which then lead to addiction and dependency, to more subtle weaknesses such as pride, materialism, laziness, me-first mentality, a malicious tongue, or comparison. They are all pretty ugly and they all leave us feeling flawed and frail.
“We must learn where our personal weaknesses lie. Once they are identified, we must be ruthless in dealing with them. Earlier generations called this the “mortification of the flesh,” that is, pronouncing the death sentence upon sin and putting that sentence into daily effect by killing all that sets itself against God’s purpose in our lives.” Alistair Begg
Yikes. I’m not very good at being ruthless, but here we go. For me, if my “personal weakness” is retail therapy, I need to set mall boundaries and consequences to stop it causing further damage. If drinking is my issue, then I need to not be keeping a stash of wine in my fridge. If pride is my thing, then constantly checking social media is a no-no. Gossiping is easier to do with other gossipers, chilling out is easier to do with fellow couch potatoes… you get the gist. Obvious, but sometimes not obvious to us until there’s a twinge and we slow down and take a long look at our heels.
The Apostle Paul had a “thorn in his flesh”, something that kept him humble, kept him reliant on God. I think maybe sometimes we are given thorns or weird heels to slow us down, to cause us to stop and count our blessings, or to address some things that simply need to change in our lives. However major or minor, we are promised that God’s grace will be sufficient. He is all we need, He will walk us through the tough stuff, will help us heal, will be our source of strength. Because when we are weak, then we are strong—in Him.
After months of physio, IMS needling, pinching, and sleeping with the ugliest black ski boot thingy imaginable on my foot, I’m finally on the mend, and will ease my way back into Zumba and ballroom dancing and all things movement. But I will still have the tendon weakness, and I need to take it easy. From here on in, I will always have to be mindful of my Achilles heel and know my limitations. It’ll take extra work, stretching and strengthening, but will be SO worth it!
And those other Achilles heels we struggle with? Same. We need to be aware of our tender spots, our places where we are most vulnerable. We may need to work those areas extra hard or put hedges around them for protection. Have some accountability in place, pray regularly about it, rely on God’s grace and let Him stretch us—in His strength. It’ll be so worth it, my friend!
Take it easy and don’t forget to stretch—
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: