“You are stronger than you know.”
She hears the words and wants to throw them back in his face. She wants to yell, spit, run.
“What do you know?” she thinks. “How can you tell me I am strong when I struggle to maintain a job, or look put together, or be the mother my kids need me to be?“
She can hardly believe the response, “What defines ‘success,’ my love?”
“I do. I define success. My success” she tells him. And then she runs. She doesn’t want to hear him anymore.
So she runs far away, as far away as she can. Deep into the place where she’s convinced she can’t be seen. The place that is deeper and further away than any physical location on a map. It is the place in her heart, deep inside her, where she tucks herself away.
“No one. Not one person can find me here,” she insists. “Not unless I want to be found.”
And he hears her. But he doesn’t respond this time. Not in words.
Because he knows that when you’re falling you sometimes don’t want to be caught. Something in you wants to fall and feel the pain. Pain would be feeling something. Pain is what you think you deserve.
And pain is what we feel when we hide.
We forget that God is in the business of catching us when we fall. We forget that God’s catching us doesn’t always look like we think it should.
So again, we run. We run from friendship, from encouragement, from getting help. We run from opportunities to be vulnerable, honest with people about our weakness, our inability to be strong on our own. Because that’s the real problem.
When God tells us we are stronger than we know, we hear this: it is up to us to be stronger, smarter, prettier, faster, better. We struggle to accept that being strong means celebrating that we are weak. And that in us, it is God who is strong.
It is only when we surrender the lie that we need to be strong on our own that we can believe a word that Jesus says.
Jesus in us, the Holy Spirit in us, is how “we are stronger than we know.” And yes, this can be difficult for us to accept.
And God knows this. He knows we don’t like surrender.
God knows our wild, rebellious heart. He knows our prideful, stubborn tendencies.
He knows how we lean toward fighting for our own way rather than his. He knows it takes a dying to self to get us to begin again and live. Really live. He knows it is hard for us to want that—to want to die to self as the only path to receiving life.
God knows we’re not used to this upside-down, backwards kind of living. But it’s the only living that is real. It’s the life we are made for.
If you’ve been gathering here with me for a while, you know how I love thinking about this running of ours. I love how this is part of the story, our prayer. This running away, and to, and with God are all part of the conversation we have with Him. It is the story God loves.
Our running? It is the story God wants to be in the middle of, and redeem, and make beautiful.
What is God whispering to your heart? How are you running? Are you running with God or away from Him? How do you react when your Father whispers to you, arms open, “I am here. I am with you. I love you with a crazy all-in love. Your perceived weakness is how, in me, you are strong”?
Can you accept his promise, “You are stronger than you know?”
If you want to learn more about conversations with God–and join 40 other women in their raw, honest conversations with their Father, in the midst of running away from him, or to him, or with him, click right here.