Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I was at work the other day, and I found myself questioning my strength. Following a long day of labor, in which I spent 8 or so hours in the Florida sun, I proceeded to eat, shower, change, and go to the gym. I bumped into someone I know, upon my arrival, and was questioned about my day. I explained the job that we worked on, and skimmed through our list of required tasks. Through his twisted brow, I could sense his mind was in great wonder. He then asked me how I "even have the strength to be in here". I responded with a blank stare; attempting to conjure up some witty response, like how I have some sort of supernatural ability (which, for curiosity purposes, I do NOT have). Needless to say, I made it through the workout with ease, and with a high level of strength.

But I was left with something other than a good workout. I was left with a complex thought and perception of myself. The topic? Strength.

When I think about the word strength, several types of strength come to mind; mental, spiritual, and of course physical strength. [Yes, for some reason, many thoughts of mine tend to come in threes. Which I have deemed as unintentional, yet there may be a psychological meaning behind it (lucky number 3?).] As with most of my complex thoughts, I allow myself the time to think about, and analyze them. As a result, I have come up with interesting conclusions and discoveries; which relate to my life, but strength as a whole, as well.

Mental strength

I would define mental strength as the capacity that ones brain can be functioning at its highest rate, reaching its greatest capability. Well that's a mouthful! And it sounds like a Webster's definition. No, I did not look up the definition (if a documented definition even exists). What I have defined mental strength as, is actually very simple and easy to understand. I believe that everyone has different mental capabilities. Everyone's brain varies, giving people different abilities. The abilities are usually measured in some sort of intellect or intelligence. That being said, I do not believe that mental strength can solely be measured by intellect and intelligence. Yes, I believe that they play a great part in ones mental strength and capacity, but I do not believe that they are the sole variables in the measurement of strength. Questions arise: What about sanity? What about the fluctuation of emotions? What about being able to suppress feelings, in order to complete different tasks in life? What about the actual ability to be able to complete the said task? And wait a minute, how does this relate to me again? I measure my mental strength by three different things: 1. My emotions 2. My intelligence 3. My ability to survive. Emotions are mental. They develop in the brain, and influence the nervous system of the body (which begins in the brain anyway). Intelligence in developed in the brain as well. Different parts of the brain work together, with the result being some sort of intelligence. My ability to survive, I would give the title as 'natural instincts'. These may be genetic, developmental, influential, or a combination of the three. Either way, it is in my brain, which these 'instincts' come from, enabling me with survival. With the perfection of these three variables, working to their greatest ability, my mental strength is at its greatest capability.

Spiritual strength

I would define spiritual strength as the greatest relationship one has with God. That being said, it is not an easy task to define spiritual strength. Over the past couple of years, I have been in a great focus on my spirituality. I have come a long way to have the ability to EVEN define spiritual strength! Although I may be able to give a definition of spiritual strength today, I know that I would not have been able to, even as recently as a year ago. With that, measuring spiritual strength is an even harder task. I believe that everyone's faith has a variability to it. In other words, everyone's relationship with God is different (yes, choosing not to believe in God is still a relationship with God...just ignoring Him. Catch my drift?). I live my life with a Christian faith and Christian beliefs. Therefore, I believe that my spiritual strength is measured by my relationship with God, and mainly with Jesus. How have I grown to learn this? It has become more and more evident, as I dig into my spirituality, that a relationship with Christ is the most important thing in life. How can I back up this statement? In the old testament of the bible, it is centrally focused on having a relationship with God. As the new testament is written, the focus shifts. The focus does not go away from God, but it gives us a new focus, making it easier to reach God (Jesus). Having a relationship with Him is of utmost importance in order to strive to be spiritually in line, with the one whom spirituality came from. How do I perfect this strength? Or how do I become stronger in this relationship? Well, the bible talks about having to live by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). I think that the faith and the belief in God, through Christ, is how we reach the greatest spiritual strength. Several things can assist in the achievement of this greater relationship in spiritual strength: prayer, reading His word (the bible), and living as Jesus did (although a very general statement, I believe there are certain things that we should and should not be doing that coordinate with how Jesus lived His life). If these three are done to their greatest ability, then the greatest spiritual strength can and will be reached.

Physical strength

This one everyone should know. It's too easy right? Let me take a stab at it. Physical strength can be defined as the ability to perform tasks to their greatest physical capability. And how would physical strength be measured? People have different ways of measuring physical strength. Most would ask someone who goes to the gym, "how much do you bench?". I find it sickening that people can use one task, and base a measurement of strength on how that ONE task is performed. This applies to all aspects of physical strength, not just for the gym rats. I think physical strength is also measured by stamina. We have a certain level that we can perform at our greatest physical exertion. It is then, that one has reached their  greatest physical stamina. Is that the only barometer for measuring physical strength? No. I believe that the ability to move things plays into physical strength as well. To measure that, ones muscularity would have to be measured. But muscle structure does not define strength. Muscle is built as a result of recovering from tearing the muscle in the first place. The obvious seems true, that the larger muscle mass, the stronger the person. That may be true in certain aspects, but what ever happened to the expression, "it's not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog"!? So how would I define the measurement of my physical strength? I would define it as the greatest ability to continuously perform the task at hand (very similar to my original definition). I believe that it isn't just the ability to lift or move things, it is also the ability to move or lift those things necessary to complete a task, over the given period it takes to carry it out (no pun intended).

Although I have been able to associate a definition, and a broad way of measuring [or not measuring] three different strengths, I have come to a grave conclusion. The greatest strength cannot be measured...at all! I believe that strength in certain things can be measured, but I find it impossible to clearly define how great ones strength truly is. Why? Well, what do we have to measure against ones strength? Yes, we can use specific tests and intricate devices, but what is it measuring strength to...a formulated mean or average? That doesn't help in measuring strength, because simply measuring apples to apples doesn't show ones will, drive, or resolve. There is another aspect that is immeasurable. The "it" factor, I suppose they call it. Allow me to translate it into layman's terms. We are all given different genes. With the genes, we have different abilities. Different strengths in different aspects. All which is immeasurable because we are forever developing and learning. With development comes an alteration in traits. With the alteration in traits, comes a change in strength(s). I assume the goal is to grow to develop the greatest all around strength in all aspects, which today, I deem as impossible to achieve within ones lifetime.

But hey, you tell me...

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