I've had this post floating around in my head for quite some time now, but I have been hesitant to write it. Mainly because it's so personal, and also because... well, you'll see.
There are a lot of different kinds of girls out there, but there are two really broad categories that you could try to put them in: The sweet, soft girls--and then the strong, I-Can-Handle-This girls. (And within both of those there are the sub-categories of Introverts and Extroverts. I happen to be an Introverted Strong Girl, which is a very interesting mix. And since that is what I know best, I'll be explaining an Introverted Strong Girl. It may overlap into how an Extroverted Strong Girl is, but I can't say for sure...)
For the longest time, I thought that it was wrong to be in the latter category. I mean, what about being submissive and having a gentle and quiet spirit and all that? Those don't seem to fit in that "strong girl" category...
But yet, here I am. A so-called "Strong Girl." And I've come to realize that while being made like this does have its difficulties, it also has its blessings. I've also learned that God makes all kinds of different people, and He likes it that way.
It is not necessary to be my made-up picture of what a feminine girl is supposed to be: it is necessary to be the kind of person Christ would be were He in my position. And yes, that does include being submissive and gentle in spirit.
So... what is it like being an Introverted "Strong Girl"?
I guess the first thing you ought to know is that we are not near as strong as we look; not inside. We crumble inside just like everyone else: the difference is you'll probably never see it unless we learn the (Very Hard) lesson of vulnerability. Even then, we will be likely only be vulnerable with a small group. Unless we have a blog. Ahem.
Another thing is that while we don't appear as caring as the Sweet Girls, we actually care very, very, very deeply--and it bothers us. So we try to limit our caring to a few select people, lest we become overwhelmed with it all. It sounds callous--and it probably is. But, apart from Christ, that is how we operate.
In some aspects, though, we really can handle far more than the other group of girls: it is just how we are built. We usually remain calm when everyone else is freaking out--nearly always outwardly, and often inwardly as well. We can stand against storms that would flatten other people--sometimes out of stubbornness and/or pride, unfortunately. It takes a lot of work by God in our hearts to learn to rely on His strength, because it often appears that we CAN do it. Until we can't, of course. But I really don't think you want to see the kind of turmoil that goes on before a Strong Girl gets to that point... :P
We have the same need for love as other girls, though we have a much harder time showing it. It is a very difficult place to be, because we wish that you would somehow see through us and know what we need, but of course that doesn't happen often because most of the time we are saying, "Go away I'm fine" with our attitudes. (It is also harder for us to understand our own needs sometimes, too. Just to add to the fun.) We value respect more highly than most girls, too.
If you challenge us directly and with no grace, we will probably resist until the day we die. Or the day when God knocks us over and tells us to quit. One or the other. If, on the other hand, you say things in a non-confrontational "this helped me" type way, we will likely listen. For me, I find that if someone directly contradicts me, I'll probably hold my ground. If, however, someone I respect/love says something offhand that is different from what I think, I may be shaken easily in what I think. It's very odd. :P
So... what's a Strong Girl to do?
Well, the first thing is to recognize that she is weak--that she needs to rely on Christ's strength. It is a little harder to realize because of all the aforementioned, but when she does realize it, it is a great relief.
Another step is learning to accept how God made you. Don't try to be someone else. Just love God more. Focus on Him. Let Him mold you into His image. And don't excuse sin based on, "This is just who I am!!", either.
It is also important to learn to be *whispers* vulnerable. There, I said it. But, really, that is the way to grow deep friendships, and that is the way to actually help and be helped. It's hard, very hard... but it's worth learning. This doesn't mean you need to be vulnerable to EVERYONE--that would be illogical and impossible. But it does mean that you--we--need to learn when to be vulnerable.
Learning to show and receive love is also a big step in the right direction... and a hard one. I don't know if I'm the only girl in this category that has had a hard time grasping what love IS or not, but I'm guessing not...
Another really important thing, too, is too learn to know the difference between "strong" and "tough." Tough is when you get to the point where you don't care when people hurt you and you don't care when you hurt people. You have good strong walls, and no one is going to come in. Strong is when you are able to stand firm in life's storms, but you still bend with the wind. You still feel pain, you still care.
Well, there you have it. My thoughts on Strong Girls...