How content are you with your life? Do ever feel like you’re waiting on life – real life – to begin? Do you ever feel like the strum and stain of your daily routine, the pressures and fatigue of it, are keeping you stuck while you continue to hold out hope for the adventure of your life to start – someday?
Down deep you know there is more to this life than merely making it. You know your future holds promise. And yet the uncertainty and powerlessness you sometimes feel causes you to question your ability to rise above your current circumstances. It keeps you from doing what you need to do.
Here’s the good news: you’re stronger than you think. Here are the internal wells where your strength is most likely to reside. But be forewarned. They are found in counter-intuitive places.
• Think simply – there’s strength in clearing your head. Few experts would dispute the fact that the beginning of renewed strength starts with how you think. Our mind is where we analyze, figure-out and plan. It’s where we hold our knowledge and understanding.
We’ve all heard about the undeniable power of our attitudes. But I propose a new way of drawing strength from your mind. It has to do with simplicity.
It has to do with finding strength by clearing your head to discover what should have been obvious all along.
Too often, we make life more complicated than it needs to be and we get bogged down as a result. It makes us sluggish and exhausted. It’s time to travel light and think more simply, and in turn, find a fresh resolve and a new tenacity.
• Feel vulnerable – there’s strength in owning your weakness. While the cognitive part of you may be a starting place for strength, your heart holds a wealth of power when you know where to tap it. And that, paradoxically, begins by finding the strength that comes through owning your weakness.
Of course, I realize this goes against common knowledge. It runs against the grain of anyone who is trying to appear powerful. But that’s the point. I’m talking about authentic strength that comes from the inside out. It’s not about building a strong façade. And that’s why vulnerability is instrumental in finding the emotional power in your heart. Vulnerability begets vulnerability. It builds connection and comradely.
• Be emptied – there’s strength in surrender. The ultimate source of strength resides deep in your soul. The secret is to empty yourself of your striving for strength. It may sound incongruent, maybe even absurd. But this deeply spiritual surrender, when done properly, is the only means to finding the abiding strength your soul desires. And it’s in your soul that you will discover a new boldness that will likely surprise you.
“Boldness,” says German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “has genius and power and magic in it.” It is in your soul that your faith, no matter how feeble, can conjure up courage. It is in your soul that you will discover a power greater than you ever imagined.
Life’s true adventure only begins when we summon the strength to do what we are afraid of. This could be anything from staring a new career, writing a book, going back to school, or pursuing a relationship. It could be anything that takes you to a place where your unfulfilled dreams are found.
Too often, we bide our time with the routine of a life that we hope will one day take us across the chasm. Our days become stacked upon other days. And as time moves forward, we think about the great abyss in our quieter moments. We wonder if we should take the leap soon. But the busyness of our days pulls us back from the edge and we perpetually postpone it. Why? Because we are afraid we do not have the strength to make it.
Don’t let that happen. You’re stronger than you think.
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are #1 New York Times best-selling authors and founders of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. Their primary passion, Marriage Mentoring, spans 20 years and has been featured on "Oprah," "The View" and Fox News Channel. Les Parrott's latest book is "You're Stronger Than You Think: The Power to Do What You Feel You Can't" (Tyndale House Publishers, August 2012).