“I want to hear more about being the strong person.” Don’t you just love it when your friends share what’s on their heart! Before sharing, I want to thank Veronique Clowers for the opportunity to delve deeper into this topic. It has been approximately two years since I’ve met the qualifications of a “strong person.” Over time, the need to be strong for others while avoiding my feelings didn’t last long. If you allow Him to, God will start to demolish all the false images of what you should be. You can’t even play the strong person role without blowing your cover! I used to be the “classical” strong girl who could be there for what everyone was experiencing. Is someone feeling down? I would support them and cheer them up with a word of encouragement. Someone feeling bummed about a bad test grade? No worries! I would pump them up to keep going and moving. Feeling uneasy? No worries! I am there for those moments too.
I knew very well how to show up for other people. I didn’t know how to show up in my world. Where I would speak words of affirmation and insight to other people, I was wrestling with my insecurities. When I felt down, I couldn’t find many people who cheered me up to the degree I was sharing joy. That in itself can make you feel some type of way. No one knew that I needed affirmation because I greeted everyone with a smile. I played the persona that everything was okay, but I was hurting.
People feel that strong people are super human and don’t have the same needs as anyone else. That’s so far from the truth. Even Jesus had needs such as for rest, friendship, and expression. Jesus didn’t walk about as a stoic Savior simply doing as His Father instructed Him to do. He needed the support of others and the validation of His Father to be able to do the works that He accomplished. Who do we think we are!
As strong people, we tend to adapt our lives to the following misconceptions:
- Strong people are “so” strong they don’t need any help.
- Strong people can carry the weight of their responsibilities and everyone else’s with ease.
- Strong people don’t have any “feelings.”
- Strong people never need any emotional support. They are perfectly okay being loners.
When we are trying to live our lives in this type of superficial strength, we are prone to fall.
- We do need help.
- We do need others to lighten our loads and to bear their own, so we do not collapse.
- We do have feelings.
- We do need other people to talk to.
Crisis revealed that my strength could only go so far. Challenging moments can bring us to our knees and to truth that we cannot continue to breathe under the enormous pressure we have placed on ourselves. Did I just say ourselves? Yes as strong people we sometimes allow people to put us in the category of being good by ourselves. We allow them to put pressure on us that we can’t bear. We don’t know how to say no at times, so our plates become too full until we want to collapse. We don’t open up about our feelings very well, and we tend to implode or explode from pressure. We are so busy focused on everyone else that our emotional health, mental health, and physical health are secondary. We allow ourselves to get out of sorts and then and only then do we scream, “Somebody help me! Don’t you see that I am overwhelmed?”
The answer is no. As the strong people, we are very good at masking our emotions. We like to demonstrate the picture of perfection. When I became free, I started to unveil the truth. I can’t be strong with my strength. I have times where I am weak, and I simply need to release it to God and to those who are in my family and support system.
When we are so busy striving to be everything to everyone, we are operating outside of the grace zone. We have the grace to be ourselves, but we don’t have the grace to be God. We don’t have the grace to save the world. We don’t have the grace to fix everything that is wrong in other’s lives. We have grace for our lives! There are times we are graced to serve others, but it isn’t cumbersome (if done God’s way).
Matthew 11:28-30 guides us with these words:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)
We were never meant to carry the weight of each burden (including our own) on our shoulders. God desires to teach us a better way and that way is to exchange our load for a bearable yoke. When we are yoked with God, He helps to bear our weight. We don’t have to try to do things from our own supply of counsel or strength. If we are super clear a lot of us strong people (or recovering strong people) tend to trust our abilities above God. We don’t know that it is okay that we don’t wake up as the picture of perfection every morning. We are fallible and we need sound advice, so we don’t fall into poor decision making. It is okay that we need help too.
To my strong people, we must know that strength has a different face and it isn’t ours. Even our strength isn’t our own, because God is behind our strength. We need God’s support and the first place we must be okay with reaching out to is Him. He doesn’t need long sentences. A simple “help” me will suffice.
Do you need God to help you? Are there weights you have been carrying that are crushing? It’s time to drop the strong person act, come to Him with open arms, and lay each burden at His feet. It’s time for you to release the need to be the strong person and rest in the arms of our loving Father.