I’ve always tried to be the strongest person that I know. And I’ve been pretty good at it; I’ve been pretty good at convincing myself that I’ve been good at it. And I’m not really proud of that.
Imagine that rudeness and “honest to a fault” are on one end of the spectrum and improvidence and “happy-go-lucky” are on the other. I’ve always tended to live in the yellow and red of either side of that spectrum rather than the green middle that an idealistic society should covet.
I used to think that that made me strong. I figured that if I always expected the worst case scenario, I’d always be prepared. But it’s hard to enjoy any situation when you’re waiting for the tragic end.
Other times I used to think that the opposite made me strong. If I was detached enough from the events occurring around me, maybe it meant I was so strong that none of the negative things mattered. That I was strong enough to have my life seem like a dream. But ignoring the fact that we all live in an imperfect world and that we each live complicated, messy lives seems naïve.
“Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength; for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.” – Proverbs 24:5 (NLT)
I don’t know about you, but when I believe that I’m doing everything right, I tend to think that that means I’m strong and that there’s nothing more to improve. But when I believe my life is falling apart – whether or not it actually is – it’s easier to see what’s “wrong”. Sadly, it doesn’t make listening to or asking for others’ criticism or advice any easier.
We’re not alone in this world, and there’s a reason for that. We mustn’t act as if we are. Being strong doesn’t mean having impenetrable walls up neither does it mean being an open book for everyone to read. It means being truly and sincerely vulnerable with those put in your life to help you.
It means being willing to not only hear what God other people have to say concerning our lives, but to also listen and to realise the merit, assuming there is any, in what they’re saying.