I want to be a strong person.
I’m not talking about the ability to rip my pants and T-shirt after flexing my bulging muscles, although it’s true that I did almost beat a football player at arm wrestling. Once. Almost. Nearly 9 years ago.
All physical connotations aside, there are a lot of misconceptions we have established about the definition of strength. In this post, you will see the words strong and strength more times than you’d like to count because I’m going to attempt to define what strength truly means to a 24-year-old American girl of average height named Meghan. No, I’m not a philosopher, but here are my views (we all know I have many) on strength.
Being a person of strength doesn’t require us to be cold, detached and seemingly unfeeling. It doesn’t require turning off all emotional outlets, throwing away sensitivity, telling people to suck it up and deal with it, or tossing our tender hearts to the wayside. It’s quite the opposite, in fact.
There is nothing icy, stone-like or unfeeling in the true nature of strength.
Strength can be found during your weakest points in life. You may bawl. You may feel like the weakest, most pitiful person in the tri-state area. You may be tempted to give up and shut down. All of those reactions are normal, at least, they are to me.
A strong person communicates their emotions, acknowledges their weaknesses, but refuses to give up when facing yet another hurdle or failure. They show people they are loved, risk exposing vulnerability, and decide to trust God with every situation, even if it takes them awhile to get to that point.
Strength comes in realizing that many, if not most, things are out of our control. We must be willing to accept that. However, that does not mean we shouldn’t strive for more and go after what God calls us to do.
Strength realizes the folly of being too prideful and strives for true humility. Humility doesn’t require us to make self-deprecating comments. True humility means we are thinking of others, of a mission and not dwelling on ourselves in the first place.
Self-deprecation is completely different. In practicing that, we are consumed with the thought of our own inadequacies and put too much importance on the potentially negative opinions of others, which is also unhealthy and wastes time we could be spending on building up our strength.
We all have heard that the more pride you have, the harder you fall. There are so many hidden ways we put ourselves or accomplishments on pedestals. Realizing this and actively practicing humility makes us stronger.
Strength involves letting some people go, while never giving up on others. Is that a bit ambiguous, and does it sound like something found in a fortune cookie? Yes.
Strength is found when we are unwilling to settle for hopelessness, unhealthy habits, and anything else that needs to be kicked to the curb in our lives. It means believing in the ability to change and going after that change by allowing God to grab a hold of our hearts and minds.
Strength is found when we forgive others and replace the anger we have toward them with genuine, Christ-like love. This is no easy task, believe me. It requires God’s help.
Strength involves an unrelenting passion for others’ well-beings, for their hearts and minds, for their souls.
Strength means keeping our word, following through on commitments, not being all talk and no action.
Strength actively practices compassion, mercy, understanding and love.
Strength takes courage.
Strength is your character, and your character is shown through every interaction you have during every moment of your life.
Strength involves a lot more than what I’ve just rambled about on this lovely, Sunday afternoon, but there are countless ways in which to demonstrate it.
My strength fails more often than I’d like to admit. However, I am strong enough to realize that I am a work in progress, and there are a million opportunities every day in which I can put these definitions of strength into practice.
Where does my strength come from? It comes from the Lord.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
Psalms 118:14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for you: be you their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.
Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk on my high places.
Luke 22:43 And there appeared an angel to him from heaven, strengthening him.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.