Tag Archives: strength

Embracing Small Dog Syndrome



Anyone who knows me knows Hank, my Snorkie pup. It’s kind of amazing that it has taken this long for Hank to appear in a blog! Hank is sensitive, way too smart, playful, and energetic. He is a dog that knows what he wants and knows how to communicate it. And of course, he’s adorable! However, Hank has small dog syndrome. He is a 14 lbs fluff ball on the outside. But he is 100 lbs of fierce guard dog on the inside. He believes he can take on anything and everyone. He has very little fear. In his mind, he owns the whole neighborhood and everyone needs his permission to pass in front of our house or through his yard. Similar to Hank, we might look like lambs on the outside, but we have the power of the living God on the inside. I wonder how often God longs for us to act with the belief and knowledge of that truth.

Recently I’ve been struck by how we don’t typically see ourselves the way God sees us. For that matter, I don’t know that we typically see ourselves the way others see us! So often we underestimate ourselves, and worst of all, we underestimate what God wants to do through us. God’s desire is to use us, despite of and BECAUSE of our weaknesses, to bring glory to God and His kingdom. Paul says, “[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).” God is not embarrassed or ashamed of our weaknesses. No, He delights in them and uses them for His purposes. He longs for us to step out in faith so that he can finish in His strength the tasks that cannot possibly be finished in our own.

In Deuteronomy, God speaks through Moses to give a message to Joshua and the rest of the spies being sent in to scout the Promised Land. He says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).” That message still applies to us today. We can be strong and courageous, like Hank watching over the neighborhood, because we know that God goes with us, will never leave us, and will never forsake us. When we live out that truth and remember our true identity is found in Christ, we can live with great courage, be amazingly bold, and demonstrate unshakable faith. We might feel like “small dogs” but because of our identity in Christ and the power of God within us, we need to live like German shepherds.




When a fastball looks more like a change up: Relying on God’s strength instead of your own

Power pitcher, Roger Clemons, won over 350 games, struck out 4672 batters, and won two World Series Championships during his illustrious major league baseball career that spanned over twenty years with four different teams. Roger was elected to his first of 11 All Star teams in 1986, his third year in the league. Clemons took the mound as the starting pitcher for his American League team in the bottom of the first inning and though he was able to get through the inning without giving up a run, he was clearly nervous.


As a Boston Red Sox, playing in the American League, where a designated hitter is allowed, Roger had not had to bat during his major league career. Now playing the All Star game in a National League ballpark, where there is no designated hitter, Roger stepped to the plate in the top of the second inning to face National League counterpart, Dwight Gooden. Clemons struck out looking at three straight pitches. As the story goes, he returned to the dugout and asked his fellow teammates if his pitches looked the same as the ones he just faced. A teammate responded, “No, you pitch harder.” Clemons returned to the mound brimming with confidence and pitched two more shutout innings. He earned the All Star game MVP and went on that season to not only win his first of 7 Cy Young Awards (an award given to the best pitcher in each league) but also the American League MVP award, which is rarely given to a pitcher.


Like Clemons, I wonder how often I lose confidence and grow insecure because I lose perspective. Clemons needed to be reminded of the strength and power behind his fastball. I need to be reminded of God’s strength and power through me. Unfortunately, Roger’s ability to throw a 90 mile per hour fastball faded over time and his career eventually ended. Fortunately, God’s strength and power never fades and are at my disposal at all times.

However, much of the time, it sure doesn’t feel like it! Instead of an All Star, power pitcher able to strike out the side, I typically feel like an old, washed up knuckleballer getting hit all over the park!  And in those moments of weakness I realize three things:

1. I’ve often lost sight of my identity in Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” As God’s child, I have been called up to play in the major leagues yet I often act as if I’m still in the minors.

2. Because I lose sight that I am a child of God, I begin to rely on my own strength and abilities. However 1 Corinthians 1:25, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

3. I tend to forget that the moments of weakness, when my confidence has been shaken, are the times when God’s power is most evident. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says, “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And when God’s power is made evident in my life, God’s name is glorified, and my confidence grows… not confidence in my own ability. No. My confidence in my identity as God’s child grows, a child who has access to her Father’s strength and power to do things that are beyond comprehension or imagination.





Weary: 1. exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness.   2. Having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted.


Recently, I’ve felt weary.  I’ve simply felt worn down, spread thin, and like I’m running on fumes. The long winter and delay of spring hasn’t helped either! Have you ever felt this way?

I grow weary when I stop counting on and communicating with God and rely only on my own power and strength.  I disconnect from Jesus for a variety of reasons including busyness, pride, stubbornness, arrogance, hurt, or just laziness. Regardless of the reason, the result is almost always the same. I end up feeling weary. And it’s no wonder. My body and mind are weak and have limits. God’s power and strength is without limits. Look at what Isaiah 40:28-31 says,

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

But the truth behind the times I feel weary, is that I lose sight of my identity. I forget that I am a precious child of God. I forget that my purpose is to please Him, not everyone else. I forget that my worth is found in His love for me and not in my own accomplishment. And that is when I end up stumbling, that is when I fall.

Bald Eagle in Flight                             runner

When I remember I’m a beloved child of God, I more easily rely on Him. There is little hope to be found in my own talents and abilities, but there is much hope in the limitless strength of the Lord. I don’t know what it would feel like to soar on the back of an eagle, but it sounds pretty exhilarating! I dream of being able to go on a run and not return exhausted! And that’s the strength and power we  have access to when we stay connected to our identity in Christ as God’s beloved!