Being strong to me meant being self-sufficent. It meant not relying on anyone or anything. It meant keeping people out and not letting them hurt me. This is what I was taught as a child. Cynicism was rewarded and crying was seen as weak. You were made fun of for showing a soft heart. So I learned to suck in the tears and put on this tough persona. However, it was always a struggle because my DNA, how I’m made, is to love and have a soft heart. What I was doing for self preservation went against my core. So I was and still am at odds with myself. My gut reaction is to not show emotion and keep it inside, but my spirit shouts against that. The only time I cry is when I’m being used by the Spirit. I always blamed my tears on the Spirit as if crying wasn’t my natural self. God has been showing me the reason tears flow during these times is because this is when I’m being my true self. This is when my spirit can be free.
Okay, some of the persona is real. I love heavy metal music, especially Christian heavy metal music so I can enjoy singing with it. I love the thrill of going down that first huge hill of a roller coaster. I’m not afraid of speaking to a group of big “scary” looking guys. I enjoy movies like transformers and other shootem up movies. I’ve always been a bit of a tom boy. But those loves are not at odds with a soft heart.
God showed me this didn’t just extend to the world. Intimacy with God terrifies me. I feel like a flipped turtle if I open up too much and I try desperately to flip myself back over so I can keep an acceptable distance between me and God. He is the one who can do the most damage to my heart if he chose. I hear the collective gasp, but it’s true. I’ve always depended on him, but if I truly give him my heart, his response could be devastating. What if he rejects me. That would kill me. What if he takes a look and says, “hmm” and moves on.
You may say, “How can you think he would do that.” Just a gut reaction to growing up how I did. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. I didn’t know that was how I felt. I was just asking God why I only get so close and then back off. This is what he showed me.
The new definition of strong for me is exposing my heart to the creator of the universe and allowing him to do the work he wants. And maybe finding out the work he wants to do is to love me.