Strong. Be strong. Stand strong.
As kids, we want to grow up to become big and strong. As parents, we want our children to grow up to be strong and healthy. And we ourselves wish to be known by and respected for our strength.
There is physical strength, and there is also mental and emotional strength. And we want to be strong in all of those areas.
However, I think that we don’t always have the proper view of what it means to be strong.
Well…maybe not an improper view, but rather a limited view. Not so much physically…that kind of strength is pretty easy to see and recognize. I’m talking of mental and emotional strength.
Don’t take any crap from anyone. If someone wrongs you in some way, get back at them. If someone doesn’t show you respect, let them know…or disrespect them. Stand up for yourself and be strong. Never let it appear as though you are being taken advantage of, for any reason or under any circumstances.
These are the kinds of actions often attached to being strong. The kind of actions where we make sure everyone knows what we think and how we feel. Where we exert our will, and make sure if someone is going to do something to us, we are ready to do something right back. Where we are taking care of our self, no matter the cost.
Sure, there is definitely an element of strength found in those actions. To be strong enough to stand up for yourself, fight back, and speak your mind.
However, they are not the only ways of displaying strength. I would suggest that we need to learn to show the right type of strength depending on the situation. Sometimes yes, we must be strong in the ways already mentioned. But other times, we must learn to be strong in ways that don’t often get recognized as strength.
Keeping your mouth closed at a particular moment, because responding is just going to cause more issues than it will solve. Allowing it to appear as though you are being taken advantage of (when you allow it, then it’s your choice, so you’re not actually being taken advantage of), because your focus is on what is best for those you love. Not worrying about what a person who treats you poorly thinks of you. Realizing that at times, there is no winning a fight, so it’s best to not even engage. Or, continuing to do what is right no matter what.
Those are all examples of strength as well.
It takes a lot of strength and self-control to not say something in return. To not react in a negative way. To hold your tongue when you really want to give a serious “tongue lashing”. Or to choose to not fight at a particular moment, but wait till the time is right and you’re not speaking out of anger or frustration.
To be able to do that requires a lot of mental and emotional maturity and strength. And we need to recognize those actions as being strong, same as we do the other side.
Let’s take a deeper look at this…
With both sides of being strong; speaking out OR keeping quiet, not being taken advantage of no matter what OR allowing it to look like you are being taken advantage of for the sake of loved ones, engaging in a fight and not backing down OR avoiding a fight because it’s not worth it, standing up for yourself so you don’t look weak OR not worrying about what others think you look like…there are some deeper questions that we must ask.
Who’s strength are we trying to display?
Where are we getting our strength from?
Who is our focus on when we choose to display strength in a specific way?
What are we most concerned about?
Psalm 28:7 says – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped
Habakkuk 3:19 says – God, the Lord, is my strength
Ephesians 6:10 says – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
When we choose to show a display of strength in our life, is it so people see how strong we are? Is it to make sure we are taking care of our self first? Are we protecting our pride in some way? Is our focus and concern on our self, and how others will see and treat us?
Or, are we living in and displaying the strength that comes from our Lord? Are we remembering to continually draw and even renew our strength from him? Is our concern more on glorifying God with our actions?
As Followers of Christ, our strength should ultimately come from the Lord. He is to be our source of strength. And, we should always seek him to know when and how to use the strength he has given us.
We will all be different in our views on when we can display which type of strength. And that’s ok. I’m not going to sit here and tell you when you should do one or the other…rather I’m going to point you to the source of your strength for that.
Seek after God. Continue to find your strength in him. And pray often that he would give you the wisdom to know how to react and show strength in a specific instance. Ask him to give you wisdom, and then trust him and follow what he leads you to do…even if it’s not easy, or opposite of your thinking.
Psalm 121:1-3 says – I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Exodus 14:14 says – The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Isaiah 40:29-31 says – He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
As you seek to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, may you continue to find your strength in the Lord more and more. May you look to him constantly to be your help and source of strength in this life.
There will always be people and situations in this life that weigh on you, tear you down, and test your strength. How will you respond in those moments? Who’s strength will you rely on? And who’s glory will you be seeking to protect when you choose how to respond?