Like wisdom and daily provision, strength of soul is one of the gifts God holds out to his children for the asking. David the psalm-writing king bears witness: On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased." 

Looking for Strength in All the Right Places

Sunday Scripture

The day I arm wrestled with one of my sons, it was apparent on which side of the table the real strength lay. Amused, he let me struggle for a bit–rather than flattening me in a heartbeat, which he could have easily done. I’m not the same girl who could once whoop all the 8th grade boys at arm wrestling–except for Jeb the chore-strong farm boy.

In this season of life, I’m focusing on some different aspects of strength:  heart health, mobility that allows me to garden, trot down the road with the dog every day, and enjoy my grandkids’ antics. Even more important is the need for soul strength. Like wisdom and daily provision, strength of soul is one of the gifts God holds out to his children for the asking. David the psalm-writing king bears witness:

On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.”  (Psalm 138:3)

Even so, there’s something in our human nature that sends us looking for what we need in all the wrong places. Author Lucinda Secrest McDowell offers this definition of soul strength:  “the deep commitment and even deeper empowerment” that wars against insecurity, the poison of comparison, and the fear of obsolesence. (xiv)

The “long obedience in the same direction” where soul strength is born is often discovered in the wilderness, and in Soul Strong: 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life McDowell shares seven decisions that have enabled her to live vibrantly and soul strong. Our ability to live loved and to be authentic are rooted in a muscular understanding of God’s love. His unwavering presence invites us to dwell deep, to meet him heart to heart as we trust his sovereign control of the universe.

As we allow our scars to open new doors of service, we discern God’s way of overcoming pain. The soul strong are continually learning to extend kindness, throwing grace, mercy, and compassion into their world like confetti. Others are blessed by our stories of God’s faithfulness, and, honestly, Lucinda is an unmatched story-teller, and has masterfully interspersed her teaching with tales like beads on a string. I am finding myself encouraged to unearth my own stories, to reflect on all the ways they provide evidence of God’s goodness.

When believers live soul strong, we point others to Jesus. It’s “not a perfect life, more a passionate pursuit!” (7) And the best news of all is that God stands ready to pour his own strength into us for the journey.


Many thanks to New Hope Publishers  for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Grace and peace to you,


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase Soul Strong: 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life, simply click on the title or the image within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

38 thoughts on “Looking for Strength in All the Right Places”

  1. Michele, the last paragraph is such a powerful one. I am so grateful for the difficulties which pushed my roots to go down deeply in Him. Thank you for encouraging me to tell my stories prayerfully so they always point to Him, my source of strength in all things. Have a blessed Sunday!

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  2. As we allow our scars to open new doors of service, we discern God’s way of overcoming pain.

    Such a true statement as I have been in the process of experiencing His way of overcoming pain that is inconceivable that one can ever overcome. With human-ness, the fight to never give up is a strong-ness that has to come from none other than God. Have a happy Sunday and week.

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  3. This brings to mind 2 Corinthians 4:16b: “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” May my soul grow strong whatever happens with my body.

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  4. “. . .not a perfect life, but a passionate pursuit.” Yes, no matter how old we get, we can still stay soul strong for God and for others. Sounds like a marvelous read, Michele.
    Blessings!

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  5. I love that definition of soul strength (I actually just love the whole idea – and word – of soul strength)! I’m going to write that one down. What a wonderful focus and goal. Certainly more attainable that me beating anyone in an arm wrestle:)

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  6. I may have mentioned it here before, but back in 1983 I started a journal to record God’s goodness and faithfulness to our family. There are now over 1300 entries. Such a record has definitely contributed to my soul strength over the years!

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  7. I can still beat half the boys in school arm wrestling ;). But there aren’t that many boys in high school, so I don’t know if it’s much of an accomplishment! Thank you for reminding us that our relationship with God takes some wrestling (and that’s ok) and muscle building!

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  8. Thank for the book suggestion, Michele. I had not heard of Soul Strong. Going to have to check that out! I am so glad that He answers us, “On the day I called, You answered me…” Never late, always on time. Beautiful reminders today, Michele. Thank you so much!

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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  9. My husband always says it’s God’s mercy to allow us to see our own weaknesses as we age so we can learn to rely on Him more. That’s especially important for unbelievers who desperately need to wrestle with their own mortality. Thanks for helping us turn our eyes on Jesus, as always.

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  10. This reminds me of my wool farming days when I could move a 200kg (440lb) bag of wool out of the woolpress & around the shearing shed on my own! Now shopping bags are a chore! Lol!

    Wrestling with God, hmmmm I just posted about that too! 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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  11. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    Liked by 1 person

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