Broken systems

When people ask me what my strengths are, it makes me want to hide.

I know that everyone has gifts and strengths, but I would just much rather talk about yours. Or my husband’s. Or your fourth cousin’s wife’s best friend’s whom I’ve never met. But please, let’s not outline mine.

It’s not that I don’t think I have strengths. It’s just that they’re not exciting. I’m an Enneagram Two who’s good at sensing emotions and creating and maintaining systems. I know — it’s both ambiguous and thrilling.

Even though I know my God created me very intentionally, I’m very easily convinced of the lie that my strengths are sub-par, that everyone else has more to give. And because of that, I can feel powerless when that’s not the reality.

As I’ve crept ever deeper into my 20s (29 is on the horizon, and I don’t know when that happened), I’ve become more burdened by the broken systems I see all around me. I see broken systems that perpetuate injustice in housing, in education, in government, in opportunities. And the more I learn and research, the more broken systems I see.

For a systems person, seeing something to troubleshoot and streamline is exhilarating. But for a person who senses the emotions of others, seeing the discouragement and frustration and hopelessness is heavy.

I want to dig in and make things better, but I feel paralyzed by the weight of such an undertaking. So I do nothing, which creates a fertile ground for the whispers of my powerlessness to take root and grow. And the longer I do nothing, the stronger the feelings of powerlessness become.

What I need is a hard reset — a time where I re-learn the power and character of my God and His affinity for using weak vessels. The Bible is filled with reminders and stories of God doing just that, and I can encourage you in this until the cows come home. But when it comes time for me to remember it, I’ve got the memory of a goldfish.

I’m so thankful I have a Father who doesn’t keep an account of my shortcomings, who is quick to forgive and cares massively for me, even when I’m annoying myself.

Lord, thank You for loving me past my failings. Help me to take note of the gravity of the brokenness within and around me, but then be moved to action in Your name.

Maggie Evans is a regular contributor to The Scroll. She also is special assistant to the editor for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. Maggie and her husband, Sam, are members of Iron City Church, Birmingham.


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