"You are not strong."
He says it again.
"My child, you are not strong."
These words He repeats four more times and I crumble, heart wrenching, chest tightening. It comes again as I type this, the screen blurring and my fingers wavering with the truth so close: Yes, I want so much to be strong.
I ask Him where that lie came in: when did believing I needed to be strong first begin. I am ready to see a picture of me from the past, some moment years ago when I first believed I needed to protect my own heart and be confident and strong, on my own.
And then I see it, and the vision makes me tremble: Me, me in the garden, me grabbing the fruit and thinking I knew more than my King. It started there, the beginning of the lie, and I whirl with the reality of me standing alone, more confident in myself than my Lord, distrusting His Words, rejecting His Truth, saying yes to separation from my Creator, saying yes to breaking my Father's heart.
I cringe. Yes, I recognize myself there. Yes, I know this in me. It was so long ago and it was moments ago. Father, thank you for showing me, although it is so hard . . . This is me now.
But after I see me there, in that garden alone, where I don't want to be, I refuse to stay. I stand, claiming the truth again of Jesus coming for me. I claim His sacrifice as enough to cleanse me. I claim His life as enough to purify me. I claim His love as enough to make my self-centered heart not dark but white, and new.
Jesus came already to save me, and I cry out to Him again and again. Whenever that lie comes in like a thief to steal me away from my Father, I must lock hands with Him and use His strength, not my own, to become free. Remind me again, Father, whose daughter I am.
"Remember to sing your song for Me, My child. The dance has begun, and I invite you to come. I come for you, child. Yes, you want to be adored, and you are. You have everything you need in you already to choose Me and watch my love turn to action. Your action, your will is powered by my heart in you.
What gives you your strength? Remember from Whom it comes. You are not strong, my love. You are not strong. Remember that you are not strong; your weakness is beautiful to Me. I adore vulnerability, for I can move there; there is space for Me there. Strength--false strength--crowds Me out."
Again, He reminds me:
"You are not strong. But my love for you is stronger than you can imagine."
Father, forgive me for how I make everything--so much--about me. I break that lie that I am strong when the focus is on me.
"You are beautiful to Me. My heart is in you. I am enough for you. You do not have to be strong. What is strength? What is submission? What is cowering? What is pride? What is sin? What is desperation? What is a hardened heart? What is wildness for Me? What does it mean to have a heart wild about Me?
Forget and remember: the word submission is a lie. You do not need to submit to Me. You need to live in Me--and Me in you. Surrendering is not submitting to weakness. I am fully yours. You are fully Mine. No submission there. Only love. The dance: following and leading. Beauty has no boundaries or rules. Only hearts aligned with what is good and pure and right and just and beautiful. My heart in yours."
And I love how He often says this to me when He closes--me, such an unconfident, weak, struggling, dancer. He has chosen me as His dancing partner and I soar. He has chosen me, beautiful me in my neediness and complete desperation for Him. Out of the garden where I stood alone, my “yes” is different now: I am weak! In You I am strong! I cannot do anything alone!
Let the dance begin.
And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Are you, like me, someone who has wanted so much to be strong? It is so difficult, isn't it, to try to keep everything together? Let's choose weakness and His strength. Let's choose surrender and His freedom. Let's choose life and His love, His joy, His dance.
How can I pray for you?
Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy SF Bay Area. She knows what it means to crave community—and be nervous about it, too. Jennifer loves to encourage women to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, You Are My Girls, and her email devotional Loop: what you need to know.