I don’t know about you, but for me it is a constant conflict of how to be strong and yet not become tough.
Strength is that deep unshakeable confidence in who you are and your ability to endure – to be consistent and true to yourself – through hardships and difficulties. I am not talking about physical strength, I am reflecting on spiritual – some might say mental – strength.
I want to be strong – not to be so easily influenced by outer circumstances, in particular by other people’s moods, by their anger or harsh words.
I don’t want to be tough – hard hearted and unfeeling, with no compassion or empathy for others. I want to be able to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”
I want my heart to be protected from being hurt by others but I don’t want a tough hard heart that doesn’t let any ‘feelings’ penetrate. I need a filter!
I need the filter of God’s love – not allowing other people’s negativity to penetrate and embed into my heart and mind – discarding and throwing away the dross.
I need the filter of God’s word – which reveals to me his abundant, unfailing love and which will protect and keep my heart soft.
Do you know you can only really think about one thing at a time?
(I know we often multi-task and do more than one thing at a time, but conscious distinct thought, engaging with our emotions, is only possible one thought at a time.)
We are encouraged then by the apostle Paul to think about those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Because he understood the influence of our thoughts on our lives, that what occupies our minds sooner, or later, is demonstrated in our actions!
So to be strong, I need to store up the word of God, to treasure it in my heart and mind, so I can filter life’s experiences through the truth of my identity according to his word! With God’s help, I will continue to battle to be strong, but with a soft, kind heart…….