Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Strength



I feel like it's fitting to talk about strength in February. It's cold, it's miserable and I'm feeling anything but strong.

When I hear the word strength, I usually think of:
  • willpower 
  • fitness 
  • discipline 
  • dieting 
  • those Nike ads. You know what I'm talking about.

If I visualize people who are strong, I see determined and incredible women who are consistent and vibrant, who show compassion and kindness with a steely grit underneath.
  • My mom. 
  • My sister. 
  • My mother-in-law. 
  • A vice-principal I admire.  
  • My day-care provider. 
  • Authors and speakers who speak with vulnerability. 
Image result for strength quote glennon
Sorry for the language but YUP! via @glennondoylemelton

In my twenties, I was too focused on beauty (and definitely often still am) but now, in my mid-thirties, I want to be strong. 

Physically, mentally, spiritually STRONG. 

While all those attributes and examples listed above are encouraging and inspiring, sometimes I forget where true strength comes from. 



The joy of the Lord is my strength. 

This verse gets to me for two reasons:
  1. It shows that miserable people dutifully obeying the rules are doing it wrong. 
  2. It shows that my primary responsibility is to be reveling in God and it's His responsibility to make me strong. 
  3. It reminds me that the idea of being some sort of stand-alone self-sufficient island is laughable. 

God's love doesn't change. My circumstances do. He is the fixed point in which I need to set my mind and my heart to experience strength and joy. Lately (or always) I've been pretty affected by everything around me. My kids have been sick, the semester change-over at school is tiring, the weather outside is indomitable. I can feel my soul sagging. The doubts and downcast thoughts creep in from the sides of my mind.

I'm not saying that joy is a "smile, Jesus loves you" thing. If someone says that to you in the midst of a really bad day, I think it's grounds for physical violence. 

This "joy" in relationship with Jesus is a deep calm confidence that we are in His care throughout our day that eases our anxiety and allows us to walk forward in grace. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It's a realization that it's not about me; it's about Him in me. It's about dealing with exactly what's happening because I trust that His grace is sufficient right now. It allows me to focus on what I need to do instead of being overwhelmed by the millions of possibilities whizzing by.

I'm an avoider. I like to eat, watch, read, and generally DO anything other than deal with what's happening in my life and my heart. This year (since January was a trial month)...



I want to take the time in my day first to be rooted in God's word and in prayer. Instead of reading all the self-help books and behaviour management tools, I'm concentrating my energy on making this a priority and a habit.  It's a choice that is the first true step to strength in the rest of my life but so often, I leave it last.  




Feel free to hold me accountable! 
How about you? Where do you go to find your strength? What works for you? 



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