For when I don’t feel strong…

footinoceanSo much of life feels like standing on the beach and feeling the sand pull out from under your feet as the tide recedes. Whenever I have tried to rely upon myself, God brings about situations and circumstances (or sometimes He just uses the pile of things I’ve willingly buried myself under) which remind me of my precarious foundation, my weakness…and He attempts to coax me once again to embrace it and find in it the real strength I’d been seeking all along.

“When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay…”

I’m thinking again today about the name I chose for this blog, “Strength for Today.” This is more of a memo to myself than anything else. No tags to beef up SEO. It will be here for me to revisit, and perhaps for my kids to read one day and understand a little more of my mama heart. Beyond that, the visibility of this post really doesn’t matter.

Something I’m learning is that a strong woman is one who understands that she isn’t. She came to grips with that a long time ago (and still continues to reconcile herself to it daily), stopped trying to be it all, do it all, have all the stuff, accomplish all the admirable goals. She started leaning harder on her Rock and resting her feet solidly upon His expectations of her rather than those of everyone else.

Sometimes it is strong to say no, strong to take a nap, strong to ask for help, stronger to throw chicken nuggets and frozen fries in the oven and be present than to create that Pinterest-y masterpiece of a meal with no lingering memories to accompany it. Strength is found in prioritizing biblically, with eternal goals.

Strength is found the quiet embracing of new mercies every morning, because seizing the day seems to always be elusive….sort of like a weird game of Whack-a-Mole.

Strength is found in the fresh hope of forgiveness and the realization that God’s superabundance of grace, and the luxury with which it is bestowed upon us every day…will never, ever be exhausted.

“Relying on God has to start all over every day, as if nothing has yet been done.”            C.S. Lewis

Strength is found when I am surrounded by things that remind me of how small and finite I am. I love big skies unobstructed by buildings, vast oceans, towering mountains, dark, dense forests, deep canyons, and endless prairies. They give my soul the “fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective” it so desperately needs.

Strength comes in breathing. My synapses can be firing so wildly that I become unaware that I’m breathing shallowly and my body is subconsciously and perpetually prepping for emergency mode. I came across a thing on Facebook which focused my attention for only 1 minute simply on breathing deeply. Giving my body the oxygen it was created to need in order to thrive. What a ridiculously simple exercise, and yet how profoundly I felt it.

In the end, everything comes down to simple things, doesn’t it? Something to eat, something to wear, a shelter to cover our heads, some sleep and water. When we find satisfaction in the short list of actual needs rather than the long list of insatiable wants we’ve convinced ourselves to be necessities. Strength comes in living in contentment, undistracted.

All of these things I’ve mentioned are God’s ideas, not mine. Which leads me to conclude that strength comes from spending time in His word, allowing the Spirit to reorder my thinking so that I’m not leaning on my own very limited, selfishly-skewed understanding.

I think I’ll go do some more of that. Reading, that is. 😉

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