I Told You I Was Strong & Independent. I Lied.
…and yet, it’s all a big, gigantic LIE.
The message in church yesterday was about singleness and how our contentment can only be found in God, not in the safety of marriage or the independence of single life (Thank you, Pastor Trevor Atwood, for BRINGING IT). And as I sat there and listened and let the words wash over me, I realized that even though I have believed I was being honest with you every time I tweet or blog or talk about how “fiercely independent” I am…I’ve been lying. To you, and to myself.
What is she talking about? You might be asking yourselves. Is she completely off her rocker? Or a scam artist? A blatant liar? A hypocrite? No. The motivation was never to lie to you guys, my faithful readers. And the intention was pure – to encourage you all to live empowered single lives by inspiring you with stories of my own hard-earned independence and strength. But the truth is: Apart from God, I am NOTHING. Or, in the words of Jesus: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love nothing more than to be Beyonce in all of her Independent Woman glory, hollering at you guys: “All the women who are independent, throw your hands up at me!” but the honest to God truth is that deep down, I am more Sasha Fear than Sasha Fierce. And even though:
“The shoes on my feet…I bought it
The clothes I’m wearing…I bought it
The house I live in (i.e. rent)…I bought it
The car I’m driving…I bought it…”
I DON’T DEPEND ON ME.
I don’t. When I do, it’s a big old mess. I know I’ve been very open with you all about my struggles with anxiety and although I mostly talk about it in the past tense (because I’ve learned to cope with it for the most part), I had a massive anxiety attack in Gatlinburg last week after an overzealous raccoon outside digging in our trash can sent us into a tailspin thinking we were being broken in on. (In my defense, it had to be the loudest raccoon ever to walk the earth and it was 11:00 at night and we were three women on top of a mountain far away from civilization with no way to defend ourselves.) Last week! I’m all Miss Positivity, Miss Face Your Fears, Miss Get Outside Your Comfort Zone…and yet, the very minute I took my eyes off God and started contemplating my own helplessness against a raccoon (who, again, I thought was a scary burglar)…I spiraled into full-blown panic mode for the first time in YEARS.
So, the moral of the story is this: I am not strong. I am not independent. I am weak. I am often afraid. I am always completely and utterly powerless. And I suspect some of you (or a lot of you) feel the same way as me.
But here’s the good news. (I know you’re waiting for the good news).
“God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
These verses, these truths, are why I felt the need to shout my weakness and dependence from the rooftops today. Not because I am boastful of my own strength or accomplishments or ability to overcome, but because my very weakness and fear and inadequacy and foolishness is what makes God and His hand in my life shine so bright. He is the reason, and the only reason, I can get up on stages in front of thousands of people and tell my story and do interviews on national television in front of millions of people and tell my story and open up my life and my heart and be vulnerable and REAL and brave about telling my story. It’s all Him. It’s none me. And there are still things that terrify me and shake me and cause me to back down…but the good news is, His mercies are new every single day and what scares me to death today might be what He gives me the grace to face down and overcome tomorrow.
And the same holds true for you.
I hope you know Him, this Jesus I speak of. I fail Him daily, and yet He still keeps giving me grace to be me. Weak, imperfect, completely dependent (on Him) me. And the truth is, as much as I have talked about “what strong women do” and how “independence is sexy” and blah blah blah…I am grateful for my weakness and my failings. They’re the reason I have a message at all. They are the reason God has been able to do something meaningful with my life. The weaker we are, the stronger He is.
“Ladies, it ain’t easy bein’ independent…” ~Beyonce
It’s not. And not only is it not easy, it’s impossible…if you want to live a life that matters.