Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: weakness

Runners at starting line

Medaling For Finishing Last

Madeline Tate, cross country runner for Boston College, collapsed into the dirt. Her legs were too weak to carry her across the finish line. Rival racers, Evie Tate (Clemson) and Rachel Pease (U of Louisville), saw her distress and stopped to help their fellow racer. Even though Tate and Pease were also exhausted from pushing their legs to the max, and even though the girls sacrificed their chance at placing, they still chose to half-carry half-drag the limp girl to the finish. To watch the video click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PjBS2AjM7o

I love stories like this where women come alongside each other to lift one another up and support their fellow sisters to strive to be their very best.

However, it was sad to watch all the other girls in the race who witnessed Madeline collapse and kept going, so they could place or beat their previous time. I get it. They trained hard. They fought to earn their position on the team. But, it was still is difficult to see one of the runners brush by the women struggling to hold Madeline upright.

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last,” Matthew 20:19.

I feel like that’s where the phrase “girl power” has gone wrong. Over the years it has morphed into entitlement, pride, and dominance (specifically over men). It disturbs me when there is an undercurrent of being better than the rest, or the suggestion of “we deserve” lurking beneath the sense of empowerment.

Ladies hugging after race

Men and women should both be encouraged to be strong, empowered, and courageous, but maybe we’re putting too much emphasis on the wrong thing. Instead of striving to cross the finish line before everyone else, we should be focusing on how to get as many people across the finish line as possible.
Maybe we should put an equal or greater value on humility?  

Jesus’s mother Mary is a great example of a strong woman who showed humility. She stood strong in her faith when her family and friends believed the worst of her pregnancy. She also stood at the cross and watched her beloved son die when most of the disciples scattered. Yet, you don’t read in the Bible about Mary bragging about being the mother to the Son of God. Twice in the book of Luke (2:19 & 2:51), it speaks of Mary with her gentle spirit quietly treasuring the things that were spoken over Jesus in her heart.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” – Matthew 5:5

Satin and denim are different materials. Satin is more expensive, whereas denim is cheap. Does the higher price of satin make it a better material? Not if you’re doing yard work or horseback riding. I’d probably slide out of the saddle if I tried to ride a horse in satin pants. However, if I’m attending a formal wedding, I certainly don’t want to show up wearing jeans. Denim is effective but humble. Satin is expensive but weak. Both have a purpose.

If humility and weakness are traits valued by God, maybe they should be our focus.

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woods

Beware the Woods

Woods

In golf, when a ball is hit into the woods, it usually spells trouble. Either the player takes a penalty, or they try to drive it out of the briars, leaves, trees, and other obstacles.

Stay out of the woods

I say it to my kids all the time: one because I don’t want them getting lost, two because of deer ticks, and three poison ivy.

In fairy tales, a forest is usually a place of false security. It provides shelter, but unknowns lurk in the shadows. Hansel and Gretel were left in the woods because their parents had no food but discovered a gingerbread house owned by a witch who wanted to eat them. A huntsman hid Snow White in the woods to save her from her wicked stepmother, but it wasn’t long before the witch fed her a poison apple. Little Red Riding Hood strolls through the woods taking a basket of goodies to her grandmother and happens upon a wolf who deceives her and eats Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother for lunch.

Dark eerie path in the woods

Beware the woods.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the beauty of the woods. I take my boys out there for hikes. However, I have a healthy respect for the forest. I stick to the safe areas and to stay on the right path. I know to coat with bug spray and what leaves to avoid.

“The forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.” 2 Samuel 18:8

In 2 Samuel chapters 16 through 18, Absalom had just absconded with the throne. His good looks and politicking at the gate had given him the power he desired, and he used it to send his father, King David, scurrying for the hills. Still riding the high of the win, Absalom sent his men into the woods after David to finish the battle.

Beware the false sense of security.

The woods may seem harmless. It may even offer some protection. The forest was probably the last on Absalom’s list of concerns. That is until his hair got caught on a limb, and he hung there unable to free himself like a lamb waiting for the slaughter. Joab heard of his defenselessness and ran him through with a javelin, despite King David’s instructions not to hurt his son.

What may seem insignificant might lead you down the wrong path.

The acronym is SID, small insignificant decision, and represents something that seems mundane or harmless but over time leads to substantial problems or death. For instance:

Saying, “just this once,” or “no one will know.”

Buying that outfit or electronic device before you have the funds.

Your friends saying, “it’s okay,” but your gut doesn’t.

A little innocent flirting.

One of my favorite sermons on love, sex, and dating by Andy Stanley of Northpoint church discusses the Right Person Myth. Here’s a quick synopsis: A man or woman believes they’ve found Mr. or Mrs. Right and get married. After the honeymoon phase has passed, they wake up to the sound of their crying baby, roll over with morning breath, argue whose turn it is to get up, and start to second guess whether they truly married the right person. Then one day they’re at the gym or work, and the actual Mr. and Mrs. Right shows up. A little innocent flirting leads to them leaving their spouse and marrying the true Mr. or Mrs. Right only to wake up one morning, roll over to their 2nd spouse who also has morning breath, and argue. Rinse and repeat.

If you can’t stay on the path, then stay out of the woods.

We all have weaknesses. It’s good to evaluate them and in those areas give yourself a wide margin. I realize this is easier said than done, but if you struggle with drinking, don’t meet your friends at a bar. If your marriage is having issues, don’t go hanging out with a group of divorcees. If you’re in financial straits, don’t go for a walk in the mall. Keep the margin wide enough that if you slip-up you’re still so far from crossing the line that it’s easy to ask forgiveness and begin again.

Pray for wisdom to see the warning signs way up the road, and the courage to follow the right path.

And, if you have strayed deep into the woods, remember that God is a great redeemer. You can never wander so far that he cannot reach you and draw you back under the shelter of his wings.

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Weakness Definition by The New Lexicon Websters Encyclopedic Dictionary 1992

Is it a Strength or a Weakness?

I have a son who questions everything. He’s creative and intuitive, but he drives his Weakness Definition by The New Lexicon Websters Encyclopedic Dictionary 1992teachers crazy because he isn’t compliant. Before he does something, he wants to know why he needs to do it. For instance, in one of his classes, his teacher handed out a practice test. Later the teacher noticed he wasn’t doing the work and asked my son why. He looked her dead in the eyes and told her, “It’s a practice test. I already know how to do it, so I don’t need to practice.” She explained if he doesn’t do the work in class he’ll have to do it for homework. To which he replied, “Why didn’t you say that in the first place,” and then preceded to finish the work in school.

Compliance, is it a strength or a weakness? What about boldness? How about aggressiveness or being reserved? Each can be viewed as either a strength or a weakness depending on context. Aggressiveness is desirable in a football player, but maybe not in a student. Yet a reserved football player isn’t going to bring it home for a win, while a reserved student may be the teacher’s favorite.

Strength Definition by The New Lexicon Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary 1992A weakness in one area, however, can be a strength in another. In fact, a strength has an equal and opposite weakness. Someone who is spontaneous may be considered disorganized. Someone energetic may be thought of as hyperactive. Someone driven can be interpreted as insensitive. Someone patient can be indecisive. David Rendall discusses this in his book The Freak Factor, Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness. Rendall admits to having been scolded in class for talking too much and not staying seated. However, the first time I saw David Rendall, he was getting paid to stand up, walk around and talk to a group of entrepreneurs. Speaking is his strength, yet not everyone recognized it as such when he was younger. Rendall notes that, often times, the attention is on correcting the weakness instead of fostering the strength. The focus is on bringing people to the middle, having them conform. But, if everyone is morphing into a similar mold, doesn’t that make everyone average? Doesn’t exceptional, by definition, mean someone who stands out?

I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 (NIV).

Don’t be afraid to run in your lane. We tend to see our weaknesses, but God sees our potential. Focus less on perceived weaknesses and flip the coin to let strengths shine. God has given us each unique qualities and gifts, so why settle for mediocrity? Wouldn’t honing our giftings magnify them and give God more glory?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV).

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