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 or disappointed, when situations collapse and people betray us, we pretend to be impervious. 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. 

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 harsh 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 God still doesn’t despise my weakness. Still.


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


On the contrary, God 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,” God 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 God’s 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 didn’t skip the mourning process. He didn’t hold in his tears on earth or push people away until they could pull themselves 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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Elizabeth is a teacher, preacher, musician, and writer. She has a Master's of Divinity and a Master's of Music, which represent her two great loves: Jesus and the arts. A half-Korean, half-white American, she spent seven years in South Korea teaching English. Elizabeth is a perpetual learner, a deep feeler, and a pursuer of beauty and truth.

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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