Weakness Made Strong
Just a few of the words assigned to females. It doesn’t mean that every woman embodies each of these characteristics, or that men are inherently lacking them. However, I do believe God intentionally wired women differently to help fill the role of a more communal, nurturing individual.
Although the field of medicine has greatly evolved, it remains a mainly male dominated industry.
In medicine, the attributes listed above are often perceived as weakness. Becoming too emotionally attached to a patient or situation could cloud one’s judgment. Carrying the weight of other peoples’ physical and emotional burdens can lead to burn out. Perhaps crying in front of a family may convey feebleness. But as a doctor myself, I have not found these things to be true. Society can dupe us into trying to hide an emotional connection or callous our hearts to the humanity of situations to better fit in, appear “tough”, and protect ourselves from sad things.
But isn’t compassion and love what God created us to do? Isn’t this exactly what Jesus did?
God rejoices when we meet the needs of others. God designed our hearts to crave connections. In reality, it is depersonalization and isolation that are more consistently linked to burnout. It is important we foster our feelings of compassion and, with appropriate boundaries, find ways to love on God’s people.
Thomas Aquinas, an Italian philosopher and theologian, defined love as to will the good of others. Keeping this definition in mind can completely transform how we love our neighbor, friends, and patients. When we actively want to will their good, we have a vested interest in their well-being.
Colossians 3 instructs on how to be an apprentice of God and specifically calls us to “bear with each other”. This means we are not meant to carry our burdens alone. What a great opportunity medicine is to use these God-given attributes to better understand, empathize, and walkthrough hardships with people.
God created us with hearts that are capable of sharing that goodness. When we walk in fellowship with God, He doesn’t make us “better” but rather helps us become who He intended us to be. We must seek out time with him to strengthen our identity and embrace the characteristics He created in us.
God created our souls - our inner most being - which allows us to feel, think, imagine, and dream. With the soul He has designed and the instruction He has given, we have the capabilities to relate to patients and share the goodness of Christ. I have found that showing emotion has not harmed my patient relationships but strengthened them. It has helped relay my investment in their souls. And greatest of all, it has opened opportunities to share the ultimate reason for hope – the hope of the Kingdom.
What a privilege it is for us to be created in an intentional way, in His image, with the ability to love deeply and try to mimic His goodness. What a blessing to be involved in medicine specifically, where we are called to be a confidential resource, to help navigate tribulations, and to give grace during people’s afflictions. I by no means always succeed in giving these attributes, but I am blessed with ample opportunity. It is our job to embrace the many characteristics God created in us and seek Kingdom focused moments in our daily lives.
The next time you hear words like emotional, warm, compassionate, or caregiver, do not feel discouraged. Take pride that God intentionally created you with these attributes. While culture may tell us these make us soft, God tells us they make us strong. They are characteristics of God He has placed in us to glorify Him. I pray God would be invited into our daily encounters and that God would reveal Himself more deeply to others through our attempt to embrace these qualities. Do not be afraid to show vulnerabilities to others. It allows opportunity to point out his strength.