I’m sure you’ve both seen and heard the popular saying, “Check on your S T R O N G Friend”. I do not know what random person turned the statement viral, however, it wasn’t until this past Wednesday, August 8, 2018, that I began to view this very statement differently than ever before.
During my church’s weekly Midweek Service, Pastor LaBryant Friend, introduced a new light on the phrase, “check on your strong friend”.
Prior to this day, the statement seemed rather favorable in my mind. However, through his message, I was able to realize that the “strong friend”, is actually the weakest friend of the bunch. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering “how?”. How is it possible for the strong friend to really be the weakest friend in the bunch when everyone views them as THE STRONG ONE.
It’s simple, the strong friend, is the friend who is constantly and forever pouring. They always seek to aid someone else in their progress but neglect their own. They never slow down to nurture their own broken places nor to confront the areas of life where people have mishandled them. They go and go and go, and eventually begin pouring from an empty vessel.
Their hurt, pain, and frustrations are masked.
See, the strong friend, is really the prideful friend. They portray the image of being “strong”, yet lack the vulnerability needed for others to be there for them during their trying times.
They, I mean, WE, build a persona.
We, as the “strong friend”, build a false image and misrepresentation of what being strong really is. We lack vulnerability, we lack transparency, and we lack realness.
I say, WE, because I once thought that I, was THE STRONG FRIEND. But really, I am weak.
Now, everything that I am saying may totally challenge your natural way of thinking.
AND, if you feel in any way offended, you’ve probably played “The Strong Friend” role in your life a time or two. Maybe, you’re still playing that role. Regardless, whatever the case may be, you are not as “STRONG” as you think you are.
You see, the word strong can be defined in many different ways. But for the sake of this “conversation”, we will define the word strong as follows, “possessing skills and qualities that create a likelihood of success”.
With that definition in mind, how successful are you if you lack self-care? Self-Care means the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
Whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional, it is important to exercise self-care in each and every area of your life. However, self-care cannot and is not successful if you DO NOT take time to nurture and build YOURSELF. Not just physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well.
As a person, who often portrays strength, you will be resistant to letting people into your emotional and vulnerable space. Trust me, I know from experience. For the “strong friend”, emotions and vulnerability are a sign of weakness for you.
However, instead of viewing those things with a negative connotation, know that God’s power works best in your weakness AND in what you view as a weakness, will allow God’s power to work through you (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I challenge you to change your perspective on what being strong really is. I also challenge you to take a moment to read 2 Corinthians in its entirety.
As WE begin to embark on this journey of true strength, know that I am praying for you!