Every year I choose a word of the year.
My word for 2023 is STRONG.
I’ve heard it said that some people are strong because they had no choice but to be.
I don’t believe that.
There is always a choice to be strong or weak, and some people make the wrong choice.
Like most people, I’ve been impacted by people who faced challenges and were not strong. In this post, I’m specifically referring to women who defaulted to weakness, and it affected me (and others around me) forever.
Everyone is the way they are for a reason and part of what drives me to be strong is being harmed by those who stayed weak when I needed them to be strong.
Recently, I attended a women’s conference where a speaker delivered a message giving instruction to women to refer to ourselves as “women of strength” rather than “strong women.” It’s softer, the speaker said, and doesn’t tend to be as threatening or off-putting to men.
And that’s not changing.
I’m not going to dumb myself down.
Become smaller or weaker so that someone else can be more comfortable.
I loathe weakness.
I hate it because someone else’s inability to be strong caused so much pain in my life. I refused to allow that to destroy me and spent a lot of time in therapy and at the altar over it, to move forward. Nevertheless, it did have an indelible impact on me. And oh how I wish it was only on me!
I know on the surface this appears to fly in the face of what it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that in our weakness He is strong. But, I believe that passage is misconstrued. It is NOT an excuse to be weak. The Biblical declaration “in my weakness He is strong,” means that we have the ability to be strong, through Jesus. We don’t have to remain weak – because He makes up for what we don’t have! He makes us strong. But we have to choose to let Him work in us this way. We don’t just automatically become strong – we have to pursue the strength that God gives.
Verbs like strong get a bad rap sometimes, and conversely so do verbs like gentle. For example, some would consider gentleness and meekness to be female traits. But they aren’t female characteristics, they are fruits of the Spirit, which are gender inclusive, not exclusive. Men are supposed to be just as gentle and kind and meek. And all of these qualities make a person strong, not weak.
I’ve been impacted by weak people – specifically weak women. And unfortunately, all the strong women in my life couldn’t make up for some of the damage they did.
I’ve been impacted by…
Their failure to face their dark side.
Their failure to face their co-dependency or addictions.
Their failure to go to therapy when needed.
Their failure to face their secrets.
Their failure to be honest.
Their failure to make hard decisions.
Their failure to stand up to injustice.
Their failure to take a flippin’ stand…period.
Their failure to take responsibility for their own healing, so their hurts wouldn’t hurt others.
Their failure to apologize.
Their failure to become a victor instead of always playing the victim.
I know, I know…that’s a lot of failures.
And we’ve all had them.
I’ve had them.
The point is:
Know differently and then do differently.
Don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect people to have grace. That’s sloppy, hurtful, and just not okay.
There is such a thing as abusing the grace of God, and others.
The Bible talks about weak women and not in a positive way. (See 2 Timothy 3)
Being a weak woman is something to be avoided, not something to be praised.
I have had moments of weakness, like anyone. But I desire them to be just that…moments, not a lifestyle.
I desire to be a strong woman who can stand up in any situation, face reality and deal with issues fearlessly. This is so important for my family and for all those who surround me. I want to always leave people better than I found them, and that will require me to be strong and do hard things.
Have you been impacted by people who wallow in weakness rather than striving to be strong? How has that affected you?