Pretending to be Strong

Sometimes I lie to myself and pretend I am strong.

I pretend I am capable of taking care of myself, that I know what I need and am capable of obtaining it.

I think it’s a survival instinct most of us fall back on. When we are hurt, when we are disappointed, when situations collapse and people betray us, we pretend to be strong. We shut off our emotions, ignore the pain, and press forward.

Until we can’t.

Lately, I’ve been taking time to face my own brokenness, and it hasn’t been easy.

I want to skip ahead to the happy resolution.

But I can’t skip over the sorrow, it’s an important part of the process. It’s essential to pay attention to the pain. I’m learning that. 

It’s essential to pay attention to the pain.

Sometimes all I can do is cry as I face the disappointment, hurt, and pain inside. I have no answers, only questions. I am reminded of the realities I learned as a child: the world is broken and people disappoint. Yet, intersecting with that reality is the undeniable truth of God’s faithfulness to me.

It seems that there isn’t always space in society, or even in the church, for brokenness.

But God always seems to have space for it. He lifts me into His arms and whispers in my ear, “I know.” And, “It’s okay.” Simple words. The exact words I need. He simply embraces me, not demanding a resolution or rebuking my weakness. He is simply with me.

It’s a love I’d like to learn.

God has told me that He is deepening me through the pain, expanding my heart. I find that reassuring. I know that He is making me whole, piece by piece. But the realization that overwhelms my heart most of all is that He still doesn’t despise my weakness. Still.


“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”
– Psalm 51:17


On the contrary, He continues to rescue me, day after day.

And while this continual rescuing seems to me like it could be a tiresome task, God doesn’t seem to agree. “You will never graduate from needing me,” He says. “When I hear your cry, I come running.

Recently we had this conversation:

God: If you weren’t in need, I couldn’t rescue you. If you never fell, I would never get to catch you. Isn’t that your heart’s secret desire? To be rescued?
Me: Yes.. But it probably shouldn’t be, right?

And then I heard His divine whisper: I don’t despise your needs; I enjoy fulfilling them. I love being your Rescuer.

Of course, I melted.

I forget sometimes, but Jesus doesn’t skip the mourning process. He doesn’t hold in his tears or turn away while we pull ourselves together. He stays with us, no matter how dark it gets. His love stays steady through all our unsteadiness. He is committed to bringing us through the wilderness to the other side.




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After living in South Korea for over 7 years, Elizabeth is back in the States finding a new normal. Currently in seminary, she is enjoying unpacking questions of faith in a new context. Amidst the tension of brokenness and conviction, she continues to find grace. And above all else, she continues to pursue the God who inspires childlike wonder.

One thought on “Pretending to be Strong

  1. Love this post Elizabeth. Indeed it is very difficult for the human soul to accept that a broken spirit is a normal and good place to be. It headlocks with our strong pride, I guess. Thank you for your honesty.

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