It sure is sweet; isn’t it?
That thing called ‘strength’.
As a matter of fact, it may be the most sought after, most admired, most coveted trait in the 21st century woman.
We all want to be strong! And why not?
A strong woman gets the job done.
She has a clear vision of what she wants and a detailed plan on how to get it.
She pushes on, no matter the obstacles stacked against her.
She may be scared, but she is brave.
Life may knock her down, but she gets back up, brushes off and becomes stronger still.
She is fierce in her loyalty and in the way, she protects those she loves.
You’ve seen her. You know her. Perhaps she’s you.
She appears in control, self-sufficient, independent.
She seldom needs help.
And therein lies the problem.
Sometimes, our strength becomes our enemy.
I come from a long line of strong women, and I see the many benefits.
But I also see the pitfalls.
The unwillingness, almost inability to ask for help or to accept an offer of help.
The disdain for weakness… in ourselves and in others.
The pride that links arms with ‘strength’ and takes you for a walk.
A long, slow walk… to a place you shouldn’t be.
And it’s not just us.
The Mr. Hyde of ‘strength’ has infected our whole society.
I see it in our young people, whose youth and vitality, convince them that they are invincible.
I see it in our men, who desperately desire to display strength at all times; a burden they are not called to bear. To them I beg the question – ‘How Strong Do You Need to Be?’
Maybe, it’s time to pause. Time to take a good look at our strength and examine its role in our lives. Is it a virtue or a vice?
Does our strength shine the spotlight on us and our successes? Does it keep us from asking for or receiving help? Are others intimidated by it? Does it keep us from being vulnerable… from showing our weaknesses and embracing community?
Perhaps we need to dig deeper… take the cloak off strength. Expose the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sides of it. Detect when the enemy of our souls is using it as one of his most clever ploys.
For sometimes, you see, we become so enamored by our own strength, so intoxicated by its appeal that we miss accepting the help we need the most. Miss saying yes to an offer of help we can find nowhere else.
The help we can never provide for ourselves.
Perhaps that isn’t you. You haven’t fallen for its trickery. Your strength hasn’t hindered you… hasn’t stopped you from saying yes to our Savior… from receiving God’s offer of salvation… from being saved from your sins and put back in right relationship with God.
But, nonetheless, there it stands… (your strength)... the elephant in the room… the main thing that blocks you from reaching out to Him… from relying on His strength… that continually presses in on you trying to convince you… that you are enough.
Yes, my friend, when your strength impedes your personal relationship with your heavenly Father, it becomes your enemy.
Then it is time to break free.
Time to shake off your strength… to embrace your weakness and endue His strength. To accept that there is a God, and you are not Him. To allow your weakness to shine the spotlight on Christ’s power.
To be free to be weak.
May we find the courage to do so in the verses that follow.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
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 weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Psalm 28: 7-8
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19
So, my friend, whether you are standing in trepidation or optimism at the start of this New Year, my prayer is simple… that we may find our strength in the Lord moving from strength to strength and trusting Him with our weaknesses. (Psalm 84: 5&7)