But what if I’m not strong enough…

When I’m faced with new challenges, I like to take a step back before I embrace them. Sometimes, it’s just to get a running start. More often, I’m dealing with some version of the question “but what if I’m not strong enough?”

I worry that I’ll fail.

Spectacularly.

Lately, I’ve realized that how “what if I’m not strong enough” gets answered has a big impact on what happens next.

what if im not strong enough

Sometimes, wisdom comes from unexpected places.

One of my son’s favorite books is a series called Adventurer’s Wanted by M. L. Foreman.  It has everything you could want in a fantasy series and I confess, I’ve actually read the books more than once.

(It’s classic high fantasy.  The teenage protagonist enters magical world thru mysterious portal and discovers he has unknown powers. Adventure happens. Dragons happen. Trolls and goblins and elves and dwarves happen.  Magic swords and oracles happen.) 

If you’re into that kind of stuff (or have a tween who is) I’d highly recommend the books.

(If you’re interested, here’s the link to Amazon with my affiliate code in it: Adventurers Wanted)

If for no other reason than they got me thinking.what if I'm not strong enough

What if I’m not strong enough?

Loosely paraphrased, the conversation in the book goes something like this:

Teen protagonist: Tell me about my future….

Wiser person: You have great power and will face great challenges as you grow into your potential.

Teen protagonist:  But what if I’m not strong enough?

Wiser person: Then you will break.

That’s it.

No sugar coating. No pep talk. No offer to help or bail the person out.  Either grow into who you are capable of being, or fail trying.

You’d think the teen protagonist would have whined or at least gone off in the woods to pout for a little while. I would have even expected a side-trip to gain some experience and mature a bit (kind of like a side quest to level up by killing rats in a sewer… if you’re into that kind of video game).

Nope.

The protagonist laced his boots a little tighter and embraced the challenge. He grew. He didn’t fail. He relied on his fellow adventurers when he had things to learn. In spite of his doubts and misgivings, he discovered that he was strong enough.

Not only that, he must have liked the advice he was given.  In a subsequent book, he’s giving advice to a younger and less experienced adventurer who asks him “but what if I’m not strong enough?”  His answer?  “Then you will break.”

It must have been good advice.

As a mom, that’s not advice I give.

Maybe it should be, I’m not sure.

When my kids talk to me and tell me they’re worried about failing, I find myself offering to help. I find myself coaching and offering advice. I find myself trying to guarantee success and holding their hand through some baby steps.

At the very lest,  I often send them off to kill rats in a sewer.

I don’t think I’ve ever just told them “then you will break.”

I don’t think I ever heard that kind of advice growing up.

But it is advice I’ve been given.

I’ve taken on some big challenges over the past year.  We’ve made some tough choices. I’ve struggled to find my way into a new sense of normal.  At times, I’ve taken my worries and fears to God.

You’d expect the conversation to go something like this, right?

Me: Tell me about my future….

God: You have great power and will face great challenges as you grow into your potential.

Me:  But what if I’m not strong enough?

God: Then you will break.

Sometimes, it does. God doesn’t talk to me in the big booming “narrator voice” like he does in the movies.  I don’t want to put words in His mouth, but sometimes… I think he wants me to just put my big girl panties on and quit whining.  Or maybe it’s more of a “you got this girl” kind of thing.

But more often, the conversation goes more like this.

Me: Tell me about my future….

God: You have great power and will face great challenges as you grow into your potential.

Me:  But what if I’m not strong enough?

God: Then you need to be weak enough.

I love how God can turn my whole thinking topsy turvy like that. I love how one little thought from Him is enough to change everything.

Be strong enough to be weak.

Ultimately, all I have to do is be strong enough to be weak. I just have to lean on God and trust that He has it covered. When I’m taking on huge tasks that I feel totally inadequate for (like um… homeschooling) that’s a huge comfort to me.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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