"Do you think you're strong enough for this?"
I wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement. In both cases, I was offended. Because that's how we roll right? We tense up, we get defensive, we immediately hear the negative when maybe, just maybe, it was a positive.
At least, that's how I often operate.
Because it wasn't a statement at all. It was a simple question.
"Are you strong enough?"
And he asked it to push me, to challenge me, to have me stand up for myself and say, "Heck yeah I'm strong enough. Watch me."
I heard four very different words // you aren't strong enough.
So I became defensive and tense and a wee bit whiny like my adolescent-self. I wish I could say I've grown out of her. But in so many ways, I am still that girl.
Just a few weeks ago, I had coffee with a dear friend. And it was a morning I felt particularly fragile.
Not sad as if something traumatic happened - but fragile. I woke up feeling like a layer surrounding my heart had been cracked, parts had been pruned, and I felt out of sorts but at the same time, more alive and grateful and myself- whoever that woman is - in a very long time.
Maybe fragile isn't the right word, maybe raw is better. Because my spirit felt open like a wound or burn. It hurt and it stung but there was healing, so much healing and growth too.
I asked her, "Do you think I'm strong enough?"
I'm not sure the answer I was expecting. Maybe a "of course" or "yes, girl - you got this".
As friends, we so often say the things we think people want to hear rather than what they might actually really need to hear. I know I do this. I so often shy away from telling a dear friend the truth on my heart because I don't want to hurt them. I don't want them to run from me.
But sometimes we need those words thrown at us like cold water on our face in the morning.
I clutched my coffee cup close to my lips and waited for her response.
"No. You're not strong enough, Maeve."
Not exactly the answer I was looking for.
"But in Him you are."
Ah, there it is. There is the grace, the love, the truth.
She didn't sugarcoat it. She didn't wrap it up in a box with a bow. She said it and held her stare and I could feel her spirit looking in and through me in a way only a dear friend can.
Chances are dear one, there are things out there waiting for you to try. There are words waiting to be written on blank journal pages.
There is a friend who has forgotten their worth and potential and gifts. Remind them of those. You aren't talking too much. Tell them the things they can't get out. Tell them what you see and know // tell them over and over again if you need too.
There is an opportunity that looks good and says all the right things and impresses other people but it doesn't impress you. Deep down, you know it isn't right. But my goodness, what will folks think and say if you pass this up?
Whatever it is, whatever strength you need, you have it.
It dwells and lives and breathes deep inside your soul. Sometimes it's hiding, like a lion sleeping in the bush. But it's there - ready to pounce and dare and dream bigger and louder than before.
Trust me, it's there.
You are strong dear one, not on your own accord, not on wishing and comparing and accolades but in Him.
In simply trying to know the One who knit you together - that makes you strong.