If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’re probably about sick of hearing about my recent migraine experiences, and I apologize.
However, what I write on this blog corresponds very much to what I’m currently learning about. And right now, I’m sure learning a lot from these migraines.
Physical lessons (what helps the pain and dizziness), mental and emotional lessons (warning signs that I’m getting a migraine, such as forgetfulness, mood swings, and a very foggy head), and a lot of spiritual lessons too.
In particular, the past few weeks have been causing me to think more about strength again. Again, not just physical strength, but mental, emotional, and spiritual too.
I’ve never been the strongest of people, as much as it’s frustrated me. My goal one day is to get back into regular weight lifting and work back up to the level of strength I was at a few years ago. Right now, considering everything, I’ve slacked off.
Now, not knowing when migraines are going to happen is my latest excuse for procrastinating. I still don’t know how much activity is good for my head, and how much is going to be a trigger, and I haven’t felt like experimenting much. And yes, that’s absolutely only part of the reason. I know that if it was truly my priority I’d find a way.
At the moment, I have other priorities that rank higher on my list. But I’ve still been thinking about strength an awful lot lately. And more than physical strength, what about emotional, mental, and especially spiritual strength?
Something I’ve noticed in the few days to a week before a migraine hits hard is the difference in my mind. That’s been one of the biggest indicators for me lately. When I’m suddenly struggling to think in coherent sentences, remember names or earlier that day, or when random silly things that should be obvious are baffling to me, it’s a clue.
Or, perhaps more annoyingly, when my emotions are all out of whack. Suddenly everything is irritating to me, I feel like crying over any and every little thing, and I just don’t have the emotional strength to handle extra stress – even if it’s relatively small.
It’s those times – and after I’m resting in bed later – that I feel really weak.
I don’t like it. And I don’t think anyone does.
How many of us really enjoy feeling weak, or like a burden to others? No, we want to be strong. We want to control our lives, do what we feel like, and not be slowed down or kept from living life the way we want. Being held back by something out of our control can feel like a kind of torture sometimes, can’t it?
And yet, this has been on my mind a lot lately: nothing’s ultimately in our control. Ever.
The only thing we have a say in is our attitude. We make our own choices with the circumstances that God allows in our lives. We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it.
Spiritually, I’m ashamed to admit that my first response isn’t always to go to God in prayer when I’m struggling. Far too often, I try to figure it out on my own first. To power through it. But what does that gain me?
I end up with a lot of frustration, discouragement, and even more exhaustion.
Friends, we may not all be dealing with the same struggles, but each of us has something (or multiple somethings) in our lives that we’re battling through. It’s hard. It’s draining. We can’t make it through on our own, even if we think we can and try to.
Through Scripture, songs, and loved ones, God has been reminding me that He is our strength. When we don’t feel strong enough (because, let’s face it, we’re not), all we need to do is turn to Him, and He’s all the strength that we’ll ever need.
He doesn’t always – or often, in my experience – take away the battle, but He gives us the strength to fight it and come out the other side even stronger than we were before.
I need to remember this, so I’ve spent a bit of time lately praying about it, reading Bible verses about His strength, and talking with loved ones that I trust. And today I thought I’d share some bits of wisdom that have been shared with me lately as well.
This is a little different than my usual quote collections, as there are more quotes, and not all of them are from expressed Christians. So while I can’t vouch for each person or their choices, I do think there’s wisdom in all of these quotes, and they’ve each been encouraging to me lately. I pray they give you some encouragement as well.
1. “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”
~ Chuck Swindoll
2. “My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”
~ Steve Goodier
3. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
~ Henry Ford
4. “Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going.”
~ Yasmin Mogahed
5. “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”
~ Lou Holtz
6. “It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.”
~ Doe Zantamata
7. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
~ Bruce Lee
8. “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
9. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
~ Carl Bard
10. “Hard times are sometimes blessings in disguise. We do have to suffer but in the end it makes us strong, better and wise.”
~ Anurag Prakash Ray
11. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
12. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
~ Christopher Reeve
13. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”
14. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
~ Thomas Edison
15. “We all have battles to fight. And it’s often in those battles that we are most alive: it’s on the frontlines of our lives that we earn wisdom, create joy, forge friendships, discover happiness, find love, and do purposeful work.”
~ Eric Greitens
16. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
17. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
~ Robert Schuller
18. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
~ Dale Carnegie
19. “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on — it is going on when you don’t have strength.”
~ Napoléon Bonaparte
20. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
21. “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
~ Elizabeth Edwards
22. “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”
~ Joshua J. Marine
23. “No one escapes pain, fear, and suffering. Yet from pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, from suffering can come strength — if we have the virtue of resilience.”
~ Eric Greitens
24.“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.”
~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
25. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher
Strength isn’t always loud voices, brave faces, and muscle. Sometimes – often – it’s patient waiting, honest prayer, and choosing to rest in the presence and strong arms of our Father. That’s where we truly get our strength, and as long as we remember that, we’re in good shape. He’s got a good and perfect plan, and nothing can foil it.
Did any of these quotes speak to you today? Can I pray for you in any way? Please let me know your favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to learn how you stay hopeful in the midst of life’s difficulties!
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
(Psalms 29:11 NIV)
1. I shared more of my quote collection in many previous posts, which you can find here.
2. To receive your own printable pages of the above quotes (and the ones used in my other ‘Quotes’ posts), sign up for my email list! Simply fill in the form here, and I’ll send you PDF copies of the quote collections – as well as an inspirational short story. I look forward to hearing from you!
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