Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.~Ephesians 6:10b NLT
On a short, straight-thru flight to Florida, I met an interesting woman from Michigan. This was her first outing after being locked away many months, and she could not squelch the thrill of her newfound freedom. She said I had sisu for God.
My reading glasses, my earbuds, a stack of printed pages on my tray table, and an uncapped marker in my right hand were not strong enough social cues for Nina to get the message. I was not a friendly flyer.
She yakked on and on—about her husband, the pandemic, her destination.
I finally gave up my work goals, capped my marker, removed my reading glasses and earbuds, but did so with a huge internal sigh.
Nina started down memory lane, sharing how her grandmother had been a Finnish immigrant.
I was annoyed and tried to tuck in the edges of my growing attitude. I said a ten-second prayer that God would let me know why he’d put needy Nina in the seat beside me.
Then she announced, a little too loudly, “You have sisu! I can feel it in you.”
The word sisu (say “sis” and add “sue”) is a Finnish concept—something Nina’s grandmother stated often. Nina explained that her family had been born into sisu and defined it as “courage, stick-to-it-ness, and tenacity but all together in one word.”
I wrote the word on the back of my pages and did a little research a few days later. We can translate sisu as strength or endurance and use it to describe the ability to act rationally in the face of adversity. While I appreciated Nina seeing strength and courage in me, I quickly knew what she sensed was not really mine.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.~Isaiah 41:10 NLT
Sisu is a cool word and concept, but it does not define the source of our courage or perseverance. The strength we sense in everyday people comes directly from aligning with our Creator. God’s strength becomes our strength. He will always be the best strength any of us can acquire and operate within.
Once we understand the source of our strength, our outlook and life will both make significant shifts.
Regardless of trials and struggles, may God always remain the strength of your heart.~Cynthia Mendenhall, author of Spunkify Your Life: 8 Secrets to Living with More Focus, Fascination, and Fun (Daydreamer Books)
May the sisu others sense in you open the opportunity to share the true and constant source of your hope. And regardless of trials and struggles, may God always remain the strength of your heart.
God remains the strength of my heart.~Psalm 73:26b NLT
What are some ways you can give God credit for your strength?
Heavenly Father, thank You for being better and stronger than everything I face. Therefore, I can live each day unafraid and uncompromised. Despite all my weaknesses, help me to operate with courage and perseverance, knowing Your strength is within me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2021: Sisu by God: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved