I want to be strong. It’s that simple.
I want a strong mind… a strong body… a strong marriage… a strong faith. I want strong kids. I want to be a part of a strong community.
I want strength to saturate my speech, my actions, and my relationships.
This is not some momentary infatuation or half hearted desire. I want to be strong for all the days of my life.
So the question is…what does it mean to be “STRONG?”
A quick google search for the definition of this word will give you more than a handful of meanings. From exerting great force…to powerfully affecting the mind, senses, and emotions…to not being easily affected by disease and hardship. Being strong is all of these things and so much more.
But is there truly one definition that is best? To be completely honest with you, I’m not fully convinced that there is one. Because strength takes on so many different expressions in life all around us. My hope is that by the end of this reading you will see the word “strong” with a fresh perspective. Which in turn, helps you to see the strength in and around you everyday.
I hope as you keep reading, you can see that Strength TRANSFORMS not only your life but the lives of those around you, and that Strength is a CUMULATIVE process expressed in everyday mindsets, decisions, and actions.
Let me explain:
I want you to take 30 seconds and think about the strongest person you know. Write that person’s name down. Then, write down WHY you consider them strong.
For me, when I did this, my mother, Lakeisha, was the first person that came to mind. For years, I have watched her be strong in a multitude of ways. Her strength has changed my life and countless others. And while there definitely have been some moments that standout more than others, what I respect most about her is her willingness to choose strength daily. Let me give you a closer look on why I say these things…
My parents divorced when I was the age of 4, so I was raised by my mother in a single parent household. This was a challenge for us all, but through this moment my mother taught me a valuable lesson about strength.
Around the time I was turning eight or nine, I remember my mother saying to me, “I can’t teach you how to be a man, but I can connect you to a man who can.”
I didn’t realize how profound that statement and her actions were, but right before my eyes, my mother was teaching me how to transform an unfavorable situation into a strength.
Yes, I didn’t have a relationship with my father growing up, but that didn’t stop my mother from helping me build a phenomenal relationship with her dad. She didn’t allow our situation to dictate her desires for me to have a great father-figure in my life.
Here’s the point:
“I believe that true strength is transformative and that strong people leverage strength to change their lives and the lives of people around them regardless of circumstances.”
Life is messy. Life is grand. Life is a marathon full of emotions, outcomes, and happenings, but regardless hold strong and hold true in the ups and downs. Circumstances will come and go, but be encouraged in knowing that circumstances don’t drive True Strength. True strength is larger than that. True strength is a catalyst for change. True strength transforms.
STRENGTH IS CUMULATIVE
I’ve had the pleasure of having a front row seat to the life of my mother for almost 30 years now. While there are many moments that I could highlight, what makes her so strong in my eyes is the cumulative effect of all her life moments put together.
I started to share with you a few grand and extravagant moments about my mother and how she overcame hardship, struggle, and pain, but it just didn’t feel right. Sure, we all will have burdens to bear. Pain and struggle in some way for everybody is a part of the human experience. But I don’t want to highlight that element of strength about my mom here, I want to highlight her strength in everyday life.
No, she’s not perfect, but she is intentional and consistent. And she has chosen to live a life of strength moment by moment, day by day, and year by year.
There have been tears of joy and sorrow.
She has known success and failure.
There have been moments of turmoil and victory in her life.
She has experienced a great number of wins and losses.
But she’s told me this,
“That no matter what comes my way, I choose to live on purpose everyday.”
In joy and in sorrow, she chose to be strong. In success and in failure, she chose to be strong. In turmoil and in confidence, she chose to be strong. In wins and in loses, she chose to be strong. She is strong because she chose to be strong again and again and again.
Here’s the point:
“Strength is not a one-time decision, but the cumulative result of consistent decisions over time.”
How we think, how we act, how we speak, how we do anything has a direct impact on the cumulative process of strength. We are either investing or divesting in our strength and/or the strength of others.
Our strength isn’t limited to a moment seen or unseen by ourselves or others. It’s a lifetime of moments strung together intentionally, purposefully, and consistently. And to be frank with you, more times than not, choosing strength is not going to be an easy decision to make. BUT, if we want to be strong we must choose strength. And we must choose it as often and as much as we can.
So what’s next?
I think the expected thing to do now would be to insert some inspirational call to action that stirs up the emotions of both you and I for a set time or period, but that’s not what I want to do here.
Instead, I want to offer you an invitation with two steps.
FIRST, I want to invite you into weakness. In many ways, it sounds counter-intuitive, but I believe it to be everyone’s necessary first step if we all are serious about being strong and living a life full of strength. I believe strength is preceded by weakness. We see this practically applied in the training that we do at South Landing Fitness everyday. In order to strengthen muscle, we first break it down and then build it up.
So ask yourself, where in your life do you need strength? Where are your blindspots? Where are your weaknesses?
SECONDLY, once you have done this, I invite you to START STRONG. We want to practically live this out on Mondays as you transition from the weekend into the work week. Show up on Mondays and START your week STRONG! Whether you’re starting something new or striving for something better or more consistent, I invite you to journey with us and with others as we pursue a strength that has transformative power because it is lived out daily through cumulative actions, habits, and behaviors. Let’s be a community of STRONG people that are always string to move forward!
– COACH TAINO