October 13, 2015

What It Really Means to Be Strong

Our culture really values strength -- especially in women.

I mean, don't we all long to be seen as a strong person, someone who can handle whatever life throws at us and make it through -- no matter how difficult the trial?

Strength has been on my mind lately, because I've been dreaming up a character who values strength in herself. She has always seen herself as strong. And it made me think -- what does it mean to be strong?

I remember when my mom was dying from cancer and people would tell me how strong I was. And I thought, really? You think I'm strong? I was sitting there doubting whether God even existed and nearly cursing His name -- but it was all on the inside. No one knew. So they thought I was strong because I was surviving.

I looked strong on the outside. But there's a difference between looking strong and actually being strong.

Then, yesterday morning, this verse popped up on my Bible app: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." (Ephesians 6:10)

Coincidence? I think not.

So what does it mean to be strong? I'm guessing it has something to do with relying on the Lord. Leaning into Him when we're too weak to stand on our own. Allowing Him to be our shield against the rain and wind that pelt us and threaten to snap us in half.

And ultimately, being okay with our own weaknesses.

I'm not so good at that last one. But admitting that we are weak actually enhances His strength in us.

For as Paul said in 2 Corinthians: "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Friend, embrace your weaknesses. They are not weakness like the world sees it. They are opportunities to rest in the Lord and in the power of His might.

*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

October 6, 2015

To Stay in a Moment

This weekend, I rewatched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It's a movie about a guy who daydreams. A lot. His daydreams bring him into a world where he's a hero. An adventurer. A passionate artist. Someone who isn't afraid of anything.

At one point in the movie, the man Walter admires most (a photographer) says this -- and it stopped me in my tracks:

"If I like a moment...I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it."

Rephrased, this could apply to my life. I'd say:

If I like a moment, I don't like to have the distraction of

  • worry...
  • or wondering what if...
  • or thinking constantly about the future...
  • or looking to the next great thing...
  • or pretending that I'm okay with a busy schedule...
  • or flitting from one thing to the next because I have to.

If I'm honest with myself, I tend to see a beautiful moment, make a mental note about it, and move on -- far too quickly. But what if instead, I truly took time to savor it? To set down whatever I'm doing and relish in it? To put away the mental pen and simply enjoy it?

Moments like

  • playing with my son on the living room floor, even thought laundry is piled around me
  • tasting a new recipe (or new ice cream flavor...)
  • rereading a lovely turn of phrase in a book, and allowing the words to wrap around my soul
  • nestling against my husband and letting him stroke my hair, without caring what time the clock reads

Because we can't get these moments back.

A camera or worry or busyness or time or whatever it may be CAN get in the way of the moment itself.

I find myself daydreaming about a full life.

But the cool thing about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Walter's daydreams become less frequent as he really begins to live his life in reality.

So let's stop dreaming about living a full life -- and just live it.

*Photo courtesy of stocksnap.io