“THAT JUST LOOKS GROSS!” my kids shouted in disgust.  “He doesn’t even look normal!  Look at the way his veins are popping out!”  Recently, our fam was watching a kids’ movie that starred a wrestler-gone-actor, and his muscles were—let’s just say—a bit much.  He appeared very strong; in fact, it seemed that his muscles had muscles.  But was he really strong?  We measure strength very differently than God does, so I have stopped trying to measure substance by my own standards.  

This year, God has been challenging me to take off my mask of might and exchange it for true strength, but the funny thing is, the process of confession and transparency looks a whole lot like weakness. It feels like I am going backward, and I think that’s the point.  Sometimes the way to grow up is to grow down.  Our world prides itself on independence, yet God is pleased with brokenness.  (Psalm 51:17) 

So often we are not relatable to the world because we seemingly have it all together.  We sweep dark thoughts and dashed dreams under the rug.  We pray trite prayers and refuse to be a wreck in front of God or anybody else.  Yet David, the man after God’s own heart was a hot mess, spilling his tattered emotions and bleeding heart across parchment that still encourages us today.  God didn’t cast him aside for his diatribes; rather, he won the title “Man after God’s Own Heart.”  

I’m learning to embrace weakness to find strength, and my prayer times have become sweeter as a result.   I have learned to come to God like a child, running into His Arms when I have a scrape or a wound.  In times past, I would have settled my mask firmly in place, pulled myself up by my bootstraps and fiercely faced the day.  Now, I vent hard things, I try to pray God’s strategies instead of my own, I am absolutely weak in and of myself, and this way is definitely better.  My journal is a love letter to God where I allow Him to know the real me that no one else sees, and this has forged an inroad to intimacy.  Intimacy (Into-Me-See ) is all about welcoming God into the deepest places of my heart even if they’re not pretty.  

Looking at me, you won’t see tight muscles and toned skin, but I am stronger than I’ve ever been. Why?  Because I realize that my life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3), and He is all the strength that I will ever need.