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Confessions of a Strength Addict

I laugh at the line in Miranda Lambert’s song that sings of  a woman’s behavior after a breakup, “Go and hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.” And at the sign my brother sent to me that reads “Your crazy is showing… you might want to tuck that back in.” I so get it. And yet, it scares me. Because it’s what I tell myself…. ‘Better pull your shit together, girl, lest everyone see that you are losing it today.” Tuck it in, hide it, fake it till you make it- whatever it takes. Don’t let anyone see you are less than all together, capable and strong. Never show weak.

So here are some confessions I am making….

I’m addicted to strength. I want everyone to think I’m tough. Physically, emotionally, mentally. . I want others to think I must be an amazing Mama to have such fantastic kids despite our circumstances. Even in my honest sharing of the struggles of my journey, I am still thinking somehow that I am strong in that I can be brave and offer my honest story. So messed up. I want men to know I’m not needy or clingy and don’t say much when asked how I can be helped. I divert conversations when they get a little too close to the weak spots in my armor and make sure I ask about their heart, so I don’t have to always share mine. I don’t even know how to let others help without feeling like I’m a burden or failing somehow. But I’ll let you get the door from me-that I can handle.

I am weak. In so many ways. Yet very, very few see or know that. I keep it cinched up and tucked in tight. But occasionally the stealthy fingers of life start pulling bit by bit and the atmosphere I maintain of a woman that can handle it all starts busting apart. I’m seen for less than strong and it quite honestly scares me to depths I didn’t know I even had. And usually I have no idea what to do with it. I’ve never learned to sit comfortably with the less than able, soft and vulnerable places of me.

I have disdain for weakness.  I’m just realizing this, and oh, how hard that is to say. I have disdain for my own weakness… When I can’t pull up my bootstraps, stop crying and pull my crap together; when the boots really need to just stay off and I allow myself to be seen in a moment or many moments of weakness. But instead I think I must be failing. I even struggle at a very core level to be patient with the weaknesses of others. There is that little twinge of contempt that creeps up in me. How heartbreaking and humiliating to admit. Yet God is working to change me. I know why I can’t handle the weakness of others… because I’m not comfortable with my own humanity that holds weakness and hard core vulnerable.

I have a God that desires wholeness and restoration for me and my ugly and crazy. He’s calling me out on my crap, and I secretly love it. He’s nudging me to go deep and heal…to look back in my story and figure out when and why I started to believe I had to be strong and mighty to be worthy. I saw the moment, and I saw God there. He offered His strength, but I didn’t take it. I thought it was my battle to assume. But what else I love in this is the sweet release of pressure that I have carried for so very long to be someone I thought I needed to be in order to be loved by Him first of all, but to be awesome and loved by the rest of the world. I get to take off my armor and let His be enough.

I know logically that I am to cast my burdens on to Jesus, but until your heart is ready to be sliced open on a matter, it won’t change. I always said I didn’t know how to give things up, but I’m beginning to learn. I’ve seen much of life as a battle to fight, and while some things are, my fight must come from a place of surrender, not finger-flipping defiance. The meaning of the word congruent is “In agreement or harmony,” and so when I surrender and can truly give the battle to Him, the logical mind and emotional heart melt into spiritual congruency with God’s design. Beautiful. This is restoration.

I am realizing that the enemy always takes our positive characteristics and somehow convinces us to get off track in how we offer our strengths and it takes an unhealthy direction. I am by nature capable and strong. But not invincible like I’ve tried to be for so long. By design, I am fierce…. but I’m not the only warrior in my camp. I’ve got Jesus, an angel army, and a whole community of family and friends that want to help bear my burdens and love me just as I am, like I desire to do for them.

I secretly like my little bit of crazy and ferocity. I’ll will hold on to them for the sake of amusement and plus they are hardwired in…. I’m working to just be, and love myself in the moments of weak and the moments of strong. And I promise to do my best to love you that way too..




About Erika Barrett

Endlessly curious and a strange mix of too simple and way too complicated, I'm in awe of the beauty and glory this life offers, celebrate resourcefulness and finding simplicity in life. I am a certifying LifeCoach, specializing in helping others find a way forward towards crafting a life of joyful purpose. I'm also Masters Level Practictioner of Splankna Therapy, which is a mind-body-spirit therapy model. I'm a currently single mama to three beautiful souls, and I love to be outside, adventuring and exploring, laughing, playing in the water and hugging those around me. I'm a believer that life is rich when we become aware of the little moments placed before us and embrace them fully-the joy, sorrow, beauty, love and pain. Life is too short to be so serious, yet there is so much devastating brokenness all around us that feels crushing. My writing is about a journey into wholeness and restoration. For me, you and those around us. So won't you join me in diving into our experiences and hearts? Feel free to share a thought or many, and please, please, love those you're with.

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