Books,  Faith

Source of My Strength

I  love a good inspirational movie, song, or book.  So many of my writings begin with the inspiration I find in them.  I especially love a good adventure!  After all, I lived in Haiti for two years, sailed around the Marshall Islands delivering Bibles, lived in a poor urban neighborhood to help with community transformation, and have backpacked a third of the Appalachian Trail.  Look at the tagline for my blog: Faith, Courage, Adventure.

Very often, our culture’s predominant messages get mixed in with my faith in Christ, and what I believe it looks like to live for him. I wanted to find some specific examples to share, so I googled “Nike Quotes,” “Inspiring Movie Quotes,” and “Inspiring Disney Quotes.” Here are just a few of the top hits:

“Strong is the new beautiful.” 
– Nike 

“Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” 
– Rapunzel (Tangled)

“Do, or do not. There is no “try”. 
– Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back)

“Be legendary.” 
– Nike

“Don’t run away from challenges. Run over them.” 
– Nike

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel.
That is the purpose of life.” 
 – Walter Mitty (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)

Here are a few quotes that aren’t as strongly knit into my own heart, but I know they influence our worldview

“Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” 
– Rocky Balboa (Rocky Balboa)

“Great men are not born great, they grow great.”
– Mario Puzo (The Godfather)

“Willpower knows no obstacles. Find your greatness.” 
– Nike

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” 
– Richard (Eat, Pray, Love)

“You control your destiny – you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems.” 
– Merida (Brave)

“Believe you can, then you will.” 
– Mulan (Princess Stories)

“Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.”
 – Merida (Brave)

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” 
– Walt Disney

As my life has shifted to the more mundane routine of raising children, carpool, swim meets, grocery shopping, laundry, and comfortable suburbia, I’ve crashed.  I’ve felt like the “real me” is stuck – hidden away somewhere. My mind knows that is not the whole story, and that it’s not even the truth. But I’ve struggled to overcome feeling lost, unimportant, and even stunted. I’ve felt weak, incapable, and out of control…

That’s because I am.

All of these inspiring movies and quotes are wonderful, and hold some truth. But they lack one important clarification.  The source.  I can look inside myself all day long for strength, courage, and direction.  I can give myself a Disney pep-talk.  But the only lasting and unending source of love, hope, courage, and direction is Jesus.  

I’m reading through C. John Miller’s small daily devotional “Saving Grace.” This morning, I was struck my this simple, but profound distinction of source:

January 11

“Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:5

The world is strong, but if you believe in Jesus Christ – that he has come in the flesh – you are an overcomer. 
Intense preoccupation with self is the opposite of faith, but believe in Jesus and you will be filled with the faith that overcomes the world. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God

The power of God is the main idea in this victory.Through the powerful work of God in this new birth, we believe in Christ, and because we believe in him we love the Father and, out of that love, we love the children. This love expresses itself in deeds that we call obedience. We believe, we love, and we obey. Remember God’s power is yours in the stress, pain, and struggles of life. By faith, you can experience his power, and in the midst of your weakness, struggles, sins, and failures, you will overcome. 
But note, the emphasis is not on the victorious person, but on the victorious power. If you begin to think of yourself as the victorious person, you could easily go up like a rocket and down like a rock. The glory of what you are is the work of God, and if you’re the work of God, you can’t ultimately be defeated by the world. (Bolded words emphasized by me, not Miller).

Wow. THAT is the truth about source.

Four months ago, I posted this quote on Facebook:

“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% – so that’s pretty good.”
– Anonymous

I do still love that quote, but if I could rewrite it, I would say, “I remind myself that God’s track record for getting me through bad days is 100%.”

I’m praying for myself, and for you, that 2020 will be a year of looking to Jesus’ victorious power as our source for hope, courage, and faith. Chris and I try to pray together each morning, though we do miss days here and there.  This year, we are ending our time by praying this verse together:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV

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