A strong woman. That is what every girl wants to grow up to be. Whether that looks like a powerful princess or a successful CEO, the fact remains. We all value strength. But, is strength valuable?
Is strength something that should be pursued?
At first glance, that may seem like a trick question. Of course. With strength comes ability. The ability to love, be powerful, and be successful. So, why would there ever be an occasion for you to say no?
That became less clear to me this past month. So, let me confess something that I hate. I am not a strong woman. Not only am I physically weak, but I am also weak on the inside. I give up way too easily. So, this past month, when I was faced with my shortcomings, I was confused about one major thing.
If I am not a strong woman, then am I a weak woman? Do I have to start pursuing greater strength in my life? Am I not where I wanted to be as a little girl?
I realized multiple things as I asked myself these questions.
The first realization was that I am not defined by strength. For my true identity, check out my blog post on Worry.
Next, I realized that no one can ever be strong enough. There is this song by Matthew West that I love. It is called Strong Enough and has these lyrics:
“You must, You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me, Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own”
Then, in the chorus, it asks God to be strong enough for us, knowing that God ultimately is. This song has always spoken deeply to me. Because we cannot be strong, like, at all. And, that isn’t actually depressing. Because there is a God who is strong enough for all of us.
The next realization was that maybe strength was not a great gift after all.
When we are strong, we can seem self-sufficient. As soon as I realized this, strength began to hit a nerve with me. As someone who has been raised with an Eastern mindset, I have had it drilled into me that people are important. So, self-sufficiency goes exactly against the idea of community and of needing people to lead and walk with me through life.
I love the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is exactly what happens in life. We need people to go far in the journey of life.
Lastly, strength can be a mask that I like to wear, an image I like to project. Although it doesn’t actually exist in my life, I like to pretend that I am strong and lie to myself and the people around me. If you were to ask the majority of the people around me if I am strong or not, they would all probably answer that I am really strong.
It isn’t just me. Most of us do project ourselves that way. And, the more we do, the more we start to believe that we are strong and self-sufficient. This is exactly where a beautiful but seemingly confusing Bible verse comes into play.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10:
“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When I studied this verse, it never made complete sense to me until recently. God is glorified in weak people. Why? Because weak ones are the ones who know the truth of where they are and go running to the only One who can save them.
So, let’s stop faking it. I am not strong...and that’s the point. Let’s embrace our weakness. Maybe this week accept your failures and weaknesses. Then, move on to grow through those issues. It begins with acceptance to end in growth.
First, though, stand with me in knowing and accepting our weaknesses. We are weak. But, He is strong. So, when we are weak, then we are strong!