I’ve been pondering what it means to be strong. I’ve always pictured muscles, a set jaw and no crying. I’ve also thought of perfection and letting no weakness show. What’s ironic is, it doesn’t take a lot of strength to show people our best side and yet, when we do, people respond well. They may even compliment us on our strength and that feels so good, we want to do more of that.

But what really takes strength is offering up the bits of ourselves that are confused and lost and weak and fragmented. To hold them up and ask to be loved anyway, can feel like a feat for giants, but that’s what God’s asked us to do.

He’s asked us to stand squarely inside the reality of who we are (flaws and all) and let His love shine on us. He’s asked us to offer that strength of love to each other in a setting called church and He’s asked us to accept it from others. This love is strong because it can hold flawed people and messy lives and big questions. It’s brave because it lets people see me and lets their love into my heart. The Bible says we’re supposed to be unusual in how we love each other. That’s how we’re to be DIFFERENT from the world, how we’re supposed to stand out – not by dressing weird or eating an unusual diet. By loving well.

Will you take a step toward loving someone as they are?

Will you take a step toward someone trustworthy and let them see you as you are? That’s strength I want to build. I dream of church being a place where we all work our love muscles until we become known by our Extra Strength Love. Infused by God’s Spirit, that kind of love can heal the world.
*John 13:35