Finding Strength

What does it mean to be strong? Does it mean a physical strength? Do you have to be able to lift a ton of weights in order to show that you have the physical prowess to impress? Or do you have an inner strength of someone who has so many emotional scars that the world will never see the pain you endure? How about those who are physically abused? They hide their scars so that no one will see the pain that is inflicted upon them daily.

I know so many people who have strength. No matter what life throws at them, they are warriors. One woman goes to my church. Her faith is incredible. She truly believes that God will get her through her battle with cancer and it’s inspiring, uplifting, daunting, and even energetic in her quest to fight this disease. She fights for her children, herself, and the family she loves dear. In many ways, she’s become a mentor for me and she’s younger than me.

My mom is another woman of strength that I admire. In my mind, she’s always been able to fight any battle that she’s ever come across. The rose colored glasses were on for a very long time because she is my mom. She is my version of Supergirl. There is not enough Kryptonite that could weaken her. As she’s aged, I’ve begun to see that isn’t true. At the same token, the same could be said for all of us. As we age, we become weaker in many areas of our lives, and yet every single one of us possesses a strength that isn’t defined by our bodies. Our mindset becomes the crux of our strength.

The feminists of the world often amaze me. I don’t agree with everything that many feminists do. However, it takes a lot of guts to tell people what one thinks and even more guts to take action for positive change. When I was a little girl, I was enamored with the story of Helen Keller. To me, she represented a strength of overcoming insurmountable odds in order to achieve her dreams. She was blind and deaf and yet in some ways she heard and saw the world in a manner in which most of us couldn’t even begin to fathom.

Being strong doesn’t mean that you aren’t weak. In fact, when you are weak, you are conditioning yourself for strength. It’s learning how to walk when your knees are wobbly and balancing when you are off-balance. It’s trying to fly when you don’t even know where and what the controls are. Strength is learned, conditioned, expected, and necessary. What is also necessary is allowing the weakness to be a part of you.

I say this for two reasons. One, the weaker you are, the more you need stability, direction, and openness. If you don’t have these things, then you make the struggle much more difficult than it needs to be. Two, a little humilty goes a very long way. None of us are perfect. If you try to be everything, you might just find that you don’t really know the most important details. Some of the best folks I know pay attention to the smallest details. In companies, they know their employees and what’s going on in their lives. They appreciate their staff while other companies act like their staff is dispensible and their customer service shows this.

Think of it like this. When we are born, we depend on our parents to help change our diapers, feed us, love us, and nurture us. They are the first teachers in our lives. They give us the tools we need in order to help condition us for the upcoming battles and challenges in our lives. As we grow, we depend on them in different ways. Eventually, we all become more dependent on others to help teach us things. That cycle never ends until we die. What’s important is that our lives are all intertwined. We are all interdependent on each other and our skill sets. I used to be horrible at typing and then I took a course and got better at it. I’ve always been a strong speed reader but a horrible slow reader. Some things come naturally and some things take a lot more work.

In the end, we all find strength in our lives. The question then becomes what do we want to use that strength for? Is there a mission like building a home for someone? What about helping a person get around their house easier. Or how about helping a community by planting a community garden? There is a strength in community. I mentioned the young woman at my church. She is one of millions who fights cancer and other diseases. There are more folks than ever who are fighting for their lives and their bodies are weak. Emotionally they are superior in strength but physically they are beyond running on fumes. They are the reason I think that many of us need to look within ourselves and help their strength flourish.

I know some of you are saying that I’m getting off topic and I probably am. But I really want you to think about your own strength and what you can bring to others. Each of you is a blessing. Why not use the strengths that you have and help grant others some needed strength. Who knows? You might find strength in some of the most shallow of environments.

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