Driving in my car on my way to work this morning, I had a moment. A moment where tears broke through the wall that has been hoarding a collection of accumulating stress. The confusing part is, the stress isn’t coming from bad things. It’s coming from me being apart of too many great things.
When I was fighting my battle with cancer four years ago, I would have these moments where I would just break down. In those moments, I would wonder about all the people who considered me strong. I thought about those people in those moments because I wasn’t sure if they would still consider me strong had they witnessed my moments of weakness. I mention this in my book, Because He Loved Me, but it was actually in those moments of “weakness” that God taught me this truth:
“Sometimes, crying is the bravest thing and in our weakest moments we are truly the strongest.”
I learned that it’s in our weakness where we become reliant on God’s strength. So, through weakness, we actually develop a strength that’s supernatural. I began praying even after going into remission that I would never come to a place where I wasn’t fully reliant on God’s strength.
The problem is, I’ve always had a tendency to try and have it all together. In our society, the image associated with the word “strength” is someone who’s invincible. This weekend, I had the privilege of taking part in a movement for my generation by attending Passion 2014 ATL. The first night we were there, we were all asked what one specific thing was that we were expecting God to do during the conference so that the person beside us could pray over us for that specific thing. Honestly, I hadn’t thought much about anything specific, I had just been praying that my heart be open to anything God wanted to do. Trying to quickly process something that weighs heavy on my heart that I would like God to speak to me about, I told my group that, “Being in a leadership position, I want God to prepare my heart for this season I’m in now and the season ahead. We always have people watching us, and that’s a really big deal.” During one of our worship sessions, God spoke directly to my heart. This truth hit me like a crashing wave:
You can’t help people when people think you have it all together. No one can relate to that.
This was something God had already been teaching me through the process of mentoring a group of middle school girls. If they look at me and think that I have it all together, then they’re going to expect the same thing from themselves. By setting a standard of perfection, they will always fall short, be let down, and feel like failures. Not only that, but observing me they’ll never know how to progress from where they are because they’ll never know that I’ve been there too. I had already started this process of “being real” with them about areas where I fall short, so that they can see how God steps in and makes up for all of our shortcomings. How He loves us just the way we are.
So, there I was four years ago and here I am today finding myself in this place where God is breaking me until I’m crying out to Him. Crying out for Him. Crying out because of Him. Not because He’s inflicting pain, but because I see the pain I caused Him when I look at my cross where He died. Not because He wants to see me hurt, but because it’s in my desperation that I come to this place of full surrender. Society tells us that true strength is being independent and not needing anyone else. We’re told, especially as women, to be our own hero. There’s a lot of pressure in being told to become something we’re not and never can be. In reality, there’s only one hero. There’s always only ever been one hero. Christianity is the only story where the hero dies for the villain. Where the hero dies to save us from ourselves. And so we consciously, intentionally, at times even painfully, make this choice to die with the hero. And in that moment where we die, we truly come alive.
My mind is like a broken record. I keep going back to this mentality that strength is being strong all the time, but then I realize that strength comes in quiet, broken moments of surrender. Strength isn’t having it all together, strength is trusting that Christ is fully capable. Strength is surrender.