I’M known as the “strong friend.” The one people turn to for advice. The one touted as focused and driven.
I understand where the reputation came from: a girl from the Bronx, determined to become a pediatrician despite getting turned down by several medical schools, then struggling through med school and somehow completing two residencies.
I get it, but just reading that last sentence drains me, remembering all those years of pressure and grinding.
Because for all the praise we give “the grind,” we forget the grind also wears us down.
As wonderful and capable as you are, you’re a mere mortal with limited strength like me. Don’t let the smile and the poise fool you, I get tired too. And you know what? You can walk with the Lord for years and function as your own generator. Cranking up your own power to achieve or meet the needs of others until you grind yourself to a halt.
Trust me, it’s not pretty.
A couple of weeks ago, I became undone while preparing to speak at a women’s conference. I can’t tell you how many times, as a physician and in all my education before then, I’ve spoken before groups. And the topic this time? Only the two books I’d been writing, editing and publishing the last few years! Should have been an easy talk to put together, right?
Staying strong is hard when you believe it all depends on you.
After years of hustle and grind, I came to the end of myself. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t push past writer’s block. I couldn’t even hear Jesus, y’all. And that freaked me out! With all of my accomplishments, I felt like a failure. I wasn’t the strong one.
And that’s right where I needed to be.
Because not one woman at the conference needed to hear me speak, posing as Wonder Woman. She didn’t need any part of my will power. She needed to see Jesus’ strength in me. The kind of strong she’d rely on when faced with her own vulnerability, because only Jesus has all power.
She needed to see that even when she didn’t have it all together, she is enough. Enough for God to work with and work through, if she depends on His strength, not hers. And you are enough too. Be #JesusStrong.
Women believe the lie we must be strong for everyone else. What has that cost you? And what will you believe differently? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
THE #JesusStrong tee is available for purchase.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10, NIV
VANESSA A. HARRIS is a blogger and the author of DADDY’s Girl Forever and its devotional. She’s a physician turned stay at home mom, who’s never lost her NY wit. She needs it for the three inventive children she raises with her husband in Texas.