I have a confession: I'm not really a strong person. I just play one on TV. Stoic Kim, that's me. See, I'm smiling. :D
I filled out one of those personality/gift profiles a few years ago. One of the questions was what hard things had you experienced in your life. The list was probably only about 20 things long. I checked off more than 3/4 of them. Today, I could actually check off the whole list. This is not something I think one should be proud of. I hate that list. In fact, I wish God would have not allowed that list in my life. (The test also confirmed what I've always known - I'm an extreme Type-A. What a waste of time. I could have just told them that!)
Really, I'm an insecure, fearful, doubtful person who gets up everyday determined not to let anything keep me down. If I pretend I'm fine, I will be fine. I tell myself I have limitless strength, I am joyful, I am capable, I will not be beaten, I will not be defeated. Sometimes though, I really just want to go back to bed. This is where my stubbornness is actually a gift. I REFUSE TO ACCEPT DEFEAT! I will not give up, I will remain stoic, I will remain brave, I will tell myself this until I believe it. I will not go down without a fight. A long time ago I did a dumb thing....I told the devil that he would have to steal my last breathe in order to defeat me. Don't think he hasn't tried. Been there, done that, stupid thing to do I admit. If you choose to tell the devil to do his best, he will and you best be prepared for the fight of your life. On the plus side, God does most of the battling for you. IF YOU REMEMBER TO LET HIM!! (Notice the capitals - I forget this a LOT!)
While I may seem confident, strong, capable....this is only because I work diligently every day to cling to a promise that was spoken over me many years ago by my best friend - 'God must have big plans for your life, if this is what you're going through'. Let me just tell you that each time this was said, I could have gagged. I did NOT want to hear about some big plan, I wanted to wallow in self-pity and defeat. I wanted to run away and give up. I did NOT want to be able to fill out the WHOLE list of tough stuff. But those words forged something in my soul that keeps me moving forward.
My husband actually asked me once when I ever doubted God? Boy did I fool him!? This broke my heart, because I wasn't trying to fool him, I was trying to sound hopeful and supportive, encourage him in his faith. Kind of backfired. Truthfully, I'm not strong enough to get through anything, and my faith is usually smaller than a mustard seed. No mountain moving for me. I'm overwhelmed, tired, weak, and my heart is breaking. I have family and friends hurting so deeply today, I feel it in my soul and am crying with them, crying out to God for intervention and healing. I do not feel strong today.
Matthew West has a song, "Strong Enough", that speaks to this very thing (he is actually quoting the Bible, but the song is easier to sing along too.) "Maybe that's the point, to reach the point of giving up. 'Cuz when I finally, finally hit rock bottom, that's when I start looking up". When we get to the end of our rope, the end of our strength, the end of our ability, that's when God finally has the chance to shine and do what only He can do. When we think we're strong, we forget to ask Him for help. When we just can't go on anymore, we remember He's there. How many tears does God cry waiting for us to just look up and let Him do His thing?
What's even sadder? When so many of us, myself included, who claim to follow God, finally let go and let our real weak self through.....we got beat up, put down, criticized....by others of us that claim to follow God. This is backwards people!! It takes more strength to say "I can't do this, so God has to", than it does to go and try to do it ourselves. Let me be abundantly clear here - some of us are only here because of God. There were times when we were so overwhelmed we almost gave up permanently. We may hide behind a mask of strength, but that's because you shot us in the knees when we were already limping. We learned to NEVER make the mistake of showing our weakness EVER again.
Truthfully, I have to thank God that I completed that horrible list. I would never have gotten here without it. I would have no empathy, no compassion, no desire to get up again. I wouldn't be able to see the blessings in my life. I'd be shooting people in the knees while they were limping.