Sunday, October 25, 2009

thoughts on this evening...

The more I grow and learn, the more I realize that there is a group of people in this world that seem to be built a little differently. They have a certain something about them that makes them seem stronger, able to handle more than others. A majority of these people are called women. Women seem to be built with a few uncanny qualities that few men I’ve known possess. I think most will agree that women have certain abilities that men are just not made with, and I’m not just talking about childbirth. I’m talking about the ability to look at you and see into your soul; the ability to fix everything with a hug, kind words, and good back scratch (the kind that you can still feel 15 minutes later); and the ability to hold what seems like the weight of the world on their shoulders and not only still stand up straight, but counsel another friend at the same time. Women are strong, strong people. But from this strength can come a huge problem, the “I can handle this” problem.

Sometimes we women get so used to “handling it” that we forget the Almighty God who wants to handle things for us. He wants to take the world off of our shoulders so we can go through the day without a headache! The only catch is that we have to let go of the world before He can take it. We have to willingly give it to Him and not try to take it back. There’s the rub. Some of the strongest women I know have gained their strength because they have not had someone stronger than them in their lives to help relieve the burdens they have carried and as a result they have trouble giving their own burdens to God and letting Him keep them.

I was speaking with a friend that has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her job is demanding, her living situation is very demanding, and her family is currently going through more than one crisis. She is so stressed that her body is physically sick. She is very close to becoming angry and bitter at God. At one point, she questioned God for giving her too much to handle at one time. And don’t all women do that at some point? Do we not all try to tell God how much we can and cannot handle and how dare He cross that line and give us too much? Of course we do, whether we admit or not, we do, we have, and we will.

A few years ago, I was told that I had “grit” and that time the only thought that came to mind was a John Wayne movie called “True Grit” but I had idea what it was about. I still have no idea what that movie is about, but I have a few thoughts on the word “grit” and whether or not it’s a good thing. At the time it was said to me, I was a little insulted because, in my girlishness, I was hoping for something a little more flattering. But now I see things a little differently.

“Grit” from a thesaurus “courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance.” These are nice things to have as they have come in very handy when dealing with certain aspects of my life, but they have also been a hindrance because I start to think that I can handle things better than God. Now, I don’t go around saying that I can handle things better than God, that would just be crazy. But every time I try to handle something without consulting Him, without letting Him be the leader, without having His guidance, without giving it to Him, I’m basically telling Him that I can do it better than He can.

Yes, women are strong. We have to be. Coming from a military family, I have seen and see daily how women are strong for their husbands, how women support their husbands. In my experience, the supporter must be as strong or stronger than the supported. Yes, men are physically stronger, and in a battle of the sexes, men might win. And yes, this is a battle, but not of the sexes, but for the sexes! As Christian men and women, our struggle is not against each other, but we fight side by side against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12 NKJV). God made men and women to work together, to work in harmony with each other against the evil powers of this world. But two are better than one only if God has put those together. We women sometimes have to hard time being alone, which is ironic when you stop to consider who strong we are. Society has made us feel incomplete if we are not married or with at least with someone. A single woman in her thirties is nearing “old maid” status and should probably invest in at least two cats if you follow society’s philosophy on the subject… unless of course, you are a career woman, and then it’s okay to be single as long as you plan on getting married at some point in your life.

Ladies, society has lied to you! We have spent too much of our lives watching Walt Disney’s ideas on love, Prince Charming, and a heroine with perfect hair, that we have forgotten God’s reality! God has a plan for your life, a plan that you have been carefully crafted by His hands to accomplish and everything in your life, all the weights you have carried over the years are for that plan! The daily headaches I struggle with make my compassion for the pains of others skyrocket because I have a special, very personal understanding of what that pain really feels like. And when the pain gets so bad my eyes can’t focus anymore, I have to stop, pray for strength and wisdom, and continue on with the plan in the full knowledge that God is working through me because my strength is completely gone. Sometimes, we have to get to that point before we learn the lesson on how to give things to God and let Him keep them. It’s not that God enjoys laying more and more on our shoulders, it’s that He understands that we have been built to hold so much, that we have to be broken by the weight before we remember to give things to Him. It is sad that it has to happen that way and I wish it were not so, but we are stubborn people with stubborn souls and He is a patient God who only wants the best for us. In our weakness, He is at His strongest because it is when we are weak that we rely most on Him. Would that we were weak all the time! I wish I had never been told that I had grit! I wish I never realized my own strength so that I would have always relied on God for everything! But pride rarely fails to step in and tell me that I can handle it on my own.

Sisters (and brothers too) we are not made to handle things alone! We are made to give things to God and let Him work through us. What are you still holding on to that you know God wants? In order for you grasp all the good things that God has for you, you have to empty your hands of all the things you are holding onto. Release your grasp on the stresses, the worries, the fears, and even the joys. Give them all to God and be ready to be amazed at the gifts He gives you in return. Who else would give you a blessing for giving Him a burden? God wants your burdens as much as any parent wants to relieve their child of hurtful things. Let God have it and you’ll be amazed at the blessings that He pours into you that you never knew you always wanted and needed!

Friend, I love you and God loves you, both more than you know.