Earlier this week, I prepped my son for his four-year-old checkup.
“We’re going to show them how big you are,” I said. “We’ll see how much you’ve grown since last year.”
“Yeah,” he chimed in, “’cause I was a baby and then you held me and I grew bigger.”
“Right,” I nod. Then I slipped off his pajama shirt and reached back for his clothes for the day.
That’s when he stretched out his bare arms over his head and squeezed them to show me his muscles.
“I’m strong now! I’ve got big muscles ’cause I’m bigger.” Then he poked out his chest and beat on it like a gorilla.
I didn’t laugh (although it was totally cute and I wanted to chuckle). I just slipped his clean shirt over his head and told him he was definitely strong.
When they called his name at the doctor’s office, the nurse asked him to “step up on the scale here, baby.”
He informed her of the situation. “I’m not a baby. I’m four. I used to be a baby and then my mom held me and I got bigger.”
There you have it.
Of course, I try to spin this to my own mom-advantage. “If you want to get even bigger and stronger,” I say, “you need to eat lots of healthy food.”
He tells me, “I’m already bigger.”
As in, been there, done that, Mom.
He is bigger, though. He is stronger. And while he makes muscle-man arms and tells me how strong he is, I’m thinking myself about strength and needing more of it and how hard it is to be weak.
Oh, we all need strength for the big things, of course. God calls us to take a huge faith-step and we need supernatural strength, for sure. We need strength for big risk and strength for big courage and strength for big life moments.
But we also need His strength for all our ordinary weakness.
This week I flew home one day, beating my kids’ school bus by 10 minutes. I greeted them, listened to the recap of their day, then left for another quick errand. I walked back in the door 40 minutes later and didn’t even put my keys down when my phone rang. My youngest daughter was feeling sick and wondered if I could pick her up from school instead of risking her riding the bus home. Out the door I went again.
I need strength for in-and-out days. I need strength for mundane and strength for ordinary because few things catapult me into weakness more than when I feel bogged down by the little.
The little things sure can pile right on up until you wonder how you could be so plain-out tired when you haven’t actually accomplished anything significant all day. You have, however, been doing a whole lot of little things without feeling like you’re making any grand impact.
So, in the a mornings, even when it’s a day when my to-do list is full of a long list of the tiniest of things, I cry out to God from my weakness.
Jesus, help me.
Give me your strength today.
Help me to love others. Help me not to get overwhelmed and anxious, but to be at peace. Help me to take things slowly and be comfortable with that. Help me to value what you value. You set my agenda. You plan my day. You guide my feet. You control my tongue (oh yes, Lord!).
I remember my weakness when I forget. I remember my weakness when I blow it and lose my temper or snap in anger with an out-of-control tongue.
I remember my weakness when I let the littlest things catapult me into worry or make me feel harried and undone.
I remember my weakness when I feel tired or I finish the day with items still left on that trusty to-do list.
But those are the exact moments to also remember God’s strength. His muscle arms are big enough to take care of every load I carry; I just need to keep on handing these burdens over to Him instead of hefting them around myself.
In Psalm 84, it says:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you…
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion (Psalm 84:6-7).
It’s not “Blessed are those who are strong on their own.”
No. So we can let that go. We can stop trying to be strong enough.
We can stop beating ourselves up over mistakes. We can stop pushing ourselves to do more, be more, try harder, get farther.
Blessed are those whose strength is in HIM. His strength is enough for the big and small, the grand and the ordinary. His strength is enough for it all.