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Who Is Your Strength?

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. – II Corinthians 3:5

They will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god. -Habakkuk 1:11

God’s characteristics — His immutability, His omnipotence, His omnipresence His omniscience — were, of course, available for me and to me, but I was holding up pretty well with my own immutability, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.

You see, I had performed all my life to gain acceptance from others, and I had really been quite successful. I always looked to Anabel as the “author and finisher” of my strength.

Omnipotent

I was powerful. I could do it! In fact, I used to say that by the time I was 22 years old I had learned two things very well: 1) I can learn; and 2) once I know how, I can do it. Nothing was too difficult for me to undertake. Oh, I might hesitate to accept the task of washing windows on the Empire State Building, but then out of my mouth would come the all-too-familiar words: “Of course, I’ll do it.”

Omniscient

I was wise. On the Dean’s honor roll. Who’s Who. I knew what I needed, what I wanted — and I had the tenacity to keep performing until I got it. That didn’t wane as I became a part of the “real” world, either. I left college with my tennis racquet under my arm and a tank filled with self-sufficiency. I moved away from the protection of my loving parents, the familiar streets of dear old Poteau, and the comfortable life of home. I didn’t have a placard around my neck, but it was emblazoned in my thought-life: I can do it!

Omnipresent

I was on the scene — God wasn’t. His omnipresence didn’t impress me all that much. I needed physical proof of His presence, and I didn’t have it. So I depended on the strongest person I knew . . . Anabel.

Immutable

As far as being immutable — unchangeable — I was able to meet life, to roll with the punches and change if it was needed. I was in control. Why should that change? I was certainly not going to stop performing.

God’s constant presence?God’s wisdom?God’s power?

Those attributes weren’t doing me one whit of good, and since my own strength was what I depended on, by definition my strength was my god.

Let’s just say that my attitude was, “I’ll call You if I need You, God.” And I never really thought through that mindset. You see, what I was saying (ignorantly . . . thankfully) was this: “God, I have learned to do this, this, and this quite well. I’m still working on this one, but You’re helping me and pretty soon I’ll get the hang of it. Now this one is still real hard, but if You’ll just keep working with me I’ll eventually conquer it, too; and then guess what, God? I won’t need You at all!” (How presumptuous of me!)

After years in an unhappy marriage, after having a profoundly retarded son, after financial frugality that seemed to take the joy out of life, after dealing with the unpleasant people that I couldn’t control or make go away . . . I began to need Him. I began to realize, for the first time in my life, that my strength was not working. My life was changing me from “the leading female role” to an introverted behind-the-scenes stagehand. In fact, I pretty much lost all interest in going to the plays. The performer was about at the end of her ability to perform!

Then I came across Habakkuk 1:11, and it was as real to me as Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. That came, of course, after years of performing and after more pathetic years of failing. But even then there was still enough life in this strong woman to “kick at the goads!” I couldn’t kick much longer, though. I was just too tired of trying.

Well, today I have a new verse, a new theme song: The woman who has come to know that You are her strength is a woman who is blessed (Psalm 84:5-7).

I’ve come to know this, but it was a very difficult lesson for me to learn. I had played “god” for a long time and was loathe to give up control. I was so sure of my ability. But God, through His patience and wonderful guiding hand in my life, brought me to the point where I can say very comfortably with Paul, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).

Who is your strength?

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.