Don't Tell Me I'm Strong
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Don't Tell Me I'm Strong

"When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Don't Tell Me I'm Strong

"You're so strong."

This phrase is something that's entered my ears time and time again. I've heard it for years and to be honest, I never take the phrase well. It makes me feel pity, or like I should have a sense of pride for the strength which justifies my being. Death and loss and all complications that come with it have affected me, just as they have or will for anyone else. But right now, I feel like tragedy consistently finds a way to linger into my life in these 19 years of mine –– grief has stayed and knocked around my soul.

But this strength is something I do not own. I cannot take credit for it; it cannot be self-assumed. Don't tell me I'm strong. I'm not strong. It is only and solely the strength of Christ within me.

This thought is not my own –– I heard it in church after a service on worry. And with death, loss and tragedy comes worry, alongside other not-so-great feelings. Sometimes it even brings us numbness, this absence of feeling anything at all. But the continual pressing on and attitude toward life is not something I, or anyone else who's considered "strong" for that matter, just randomly assembles ourselves. We don't have the capacity to take our own issues past a breaking point. Christ is within us all. His strength carries us when we no longer can carry ourselves. I cannot accredit my resilience to anything else but Him. I can't even imagine who I'd be if I were on my own in the strength department.

My mom had a favorite poem that explains this concept perfectly.

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
-Mary Stevenson

Sometimes we don't even think we possess the strength others see in us. We don't realize our strength perhaps because it is not ours –– the Lord's strength is our hope, and our strength in Him is our faith. We have security and joy in His ability to come into our lives, our troubles and our defeat to show and remind us He has a plan. Troubles will come but we will not be defeated, so long as we recognize this strength Christ provides. The Lord is our strength. Relying on worldly things that bear no substance doesn't save anyone. I could go on about this, but I think my point is clear.

So for the ones deemed strong, the ones praising others to be and the ones convinced they are not in the face of defeat and despair, I leave you with these nine simple words:

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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