Don't Be the Strong One by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

You don’t have to be the strong one!

Will you take a moment and let those words penetrate your soul? Your tough exterior? Your feeling of overwhelm?

A reader contacted me recently to thank me for a post. As a writer, nothing delights my soul quite the way a comment does which reminds me how He will use our humble offerings of obedience to help others and bring Him glory. Her comment reminded me that even in my writing efforts, I don’t have to be the strong one “making things happen.” That’s up to Him. But I see time after time when He does.

That’s who I write to…my audience of One. First for my Savior, but also for that one reader who longs to know someone else understands, and needs a gentle nudge back to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.

This reader said, “I have read so many times how God is there for me and is my strength, but they were just words. In this single post I’ve realized I DON’T HAVE TO BE THE STRONG ONE ANYMORE! God is the strength in me and His strength is sufficient.”

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9).

Where are you right now? Are you trying to carry the load? To be strong for others? To not let others see your weakness?

Not so long ago, I was under a heavy weight: Juggling more in a day than I had time for in a week; Burdened by the emotional needs of many close to me; Seeing patients; Rallying the troops at home for our new season of life together. Repeatedly I felt like I was falling short and the pain of my own heart continued to sting.

One particular evening when my heart literally hurt under the weight of it all, it felt like I had crossed over into the land of “I can’t do this anymore.” Have you ever been there?

A friend texted a brief message that was not an uncommon exchange between us, just wondering how I was. My answer was a nondescript, “I’m ok.” Probably the lack of words was what tipped her off that there was really more beneath the surface, and she probed a little deeper.

When she asked, “How did I not know?” my response was to put up my protective shield. Not just to protect me, but to protect her.

She hadn’t known because I hadn’t told her of my pain. I was trying to be her supportive friend and not add to the weight of her own feelings of overwhelm. In my mind, my own needs could wait to be shared for a time that it wouldn’t add to her burden.

Yet in the meantime, my grief and sorrow at my current situation grew and I could no longer be a model of strength. The tears began to flow, as my pillow caught each one.

I quietly whispered, “Father, I can’t do this. It’s too heavy, and I’m too weak. I need you to be my strength.”

Please hear me: You don’t have to be the strong one.

That’s God’s job. What we have to do is trust Him, open our hands, and say “thank you, can I have some more?”

He promises to be our shelter, our strong tower, the cleft of the rock, and the wings under which we run. He says in so many different ways, He desires to be our strength.

This is where you can take your unfinished to do list and offer it up to Him.

This is where you can honestly reveal your feelings of inadequacy.

This is where you can safely whisper, I can’t do it.

Children will frequently attempt to be self-sufficient. I remember asking my toddler if I could help him with carrying a load that was too heavy and too awkward for him to tote, only to hear “I do it, myself!”

But when he fell down, or got hurt, the first thing he would do was run to me to pick him up and carry him to a place of safety, comfort, and healing. Oh how we could have saved many a scraped knee, scratched elbow, or bloodied lip if he had let me be the strong one for him when he insisted on carrying loads too big for him to handle alone.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Will you, as one reader did, let these words penetrate your heart and be more than just words on a page? Will you lift your hands and give Him the load that you were never meant to carry alone, and let Him be the strong one? You don’t have to be the strong one.

Hope Prevails,
DrB

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