What Strength Really Means
How can we handle the "crap" and stay in health spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically? After my last blog I began thinking about being strong and courageous and how many people take that to mean these things:
“When everyone needs me I have to be available.” “When my kids need a babysitter for their kids, I need to support them and be there for them.” “I have to just be strong after work when I have to come home and take care of everyone at home.” “I’ve got to make sure my kids are in every sport to give them a good healthy childhood.” “I get home from work and then have to romance my wife and give to her and make sure all her needs are met.” “I have to make sure I provide money for everything my wife and my kids want.” This is our idea of what being strong means. Can I propose that strength is something entirely different?
What if strength is saying no?
Because trust me, that takes great strength! What if being strong is deciding, instead of sports, play games with your kids at home? (Oh man! I can hear all the backlash on this one!) What if being strong is telling the pastor you can’t serve every single week, or telling your kids you need an hour to spend on your own heart, or telling your kids you can’t watch their child for a full week, or telling your mom you can’t be always available at her beck and call? Is this conversation making you uncomfortable? Yeah…because it goes completely against everything we’ve been taught in our current world. Most of us have been taught to be co-dependent and we don’t even know it. In fact, many of us don’t even have an accurate description of what co-dependency is. We confuse love with co-dependency.
Now, having said all of this, I also do not propose you can be selfish and just do whatever you want all the time. No. One of the definitions of love according to scripture is to ‘sincerely give and do what is best for the one(s) you are loving.’ But we don’t use that same definition when it comes to loving ourselves. Truly if we are going to love well this includes loving ourselves as well as loving others. If we are not taking care of ourselves we cannot take care of others. There is a way to love yourself and love others also. This is what takes strength because it means standing up for what you need as well as giving to others.
Being strong and courageous is learning the difference between the world’s expectations and our Father’s expectations. Understanding what love is and not confusing that with being co-dependent. I am only touching the tip of the iceberg in this blog. But I hope this inspires you to think through some things in your own life and see where there may be confusion for you. Can you see the areas you are co-dependent and where you are loving? Can you find the places you want to be strong and courageous and begin to step out into them?
Understand again the scripture: “Be able to withstand force and pressure. And be willing to do what scares you!” Joshua 1:9 Why can you do this? Because the Lord, your God, is with you. Read all of Joshua 1:9. Do not be dismayed or intimidated…
You can be strong and courageous. I look forward to hearing from you of your own experiences and journeys in this area.
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