Be Strong despite EVERYTHING

Tough times never last, but tough people do.

Robert Schuller

Am I really a strong person? What does it mean to be a strong person?

For a long time I believed that being a strong person meant ignoring your emotions, forgetting about them, and living under an eternal lie. I believed that strong people couldn’t cry, they couldn’t show feelings, because they would automatically become weak. I thought crying made you less strong, and therefore less man. I believed that the nature of man was how strong he is, and therefore that feelings were useless.

I couldn’t be more mistaken.

It was something that I made a part of my life, the fact of burying my feelings, my sadness, my fears, my struggles, my frustrations, my mistakes, my failures. It was part of my own insecurity, the simple fact of thinking that I would never see them again, or that I would lock them up and through away the key, since I had buried them under a thousand layers. But no. It wasn’t so.

What I never realized is that those things would one day come back to light. And, given the most adverse circumstance for me, they decided to float, just when I least expected it.

Why now? Why just when I felt like I could? I never quantified the result and the pain it would mean for me. The hardest part of all was that I never thought that I could harm those I love. That was the debacle, that was when everything buried exploded, bringing out the worst in me.

It was until that minute that I understood that what I always believed to be the strength of a man, could not be more than a vile lie. But it was also the only way God had to give me a shake. It was there that I understood what was the strength that God wanted to put in me went far beyond what was apparent: it was to work from the heart.

How can I be a good man to my future wife if I can’t understand her feelings?
How can I be a good priest for my home, for my family, if I can’t consider their emotions?
How can I be, one day, a good minister of God, if I can’t capture the emotions of his children?

That was the moment I understood that strength does not mean being a serious man, without feelings, without emotions. It means the exact opposite.

This is the process I’m in now: God threw a grenade at the center of all those emotions, and by exploding them, God made manifest his true intention to do this in my life. No, he has not tried to make me sad, but on the contrary. It is about becoming strong to be able to overcome my fears, to be able to embrace what I feel, and therefore, tomorrow to be able to create conviction in front of the woman I love, in front of the family that I long to have, and in front of the ministry that I dream that God will give me.

I learned that ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much I may have suffered with my past, nor how many struggles I may have had. I learned to trust God, I learned to embrace my emotions, and I even learned to embrace the Nico who could never receive a hug from another: that Nico that had decided to bury himself out of fear of how the rest would see him. To that boy who felt lonely and who had always been afraid of always being alone. I learned to make it part of me, understanding that the maximum perfection that I can achieve is to accept that God is turning me more and more into a perfectly imperfect man.

Today, more than ever, is when I look back and stop complaining, stop playing the victim, or stop withdrawing from anything. Today is when I put on my pants, accept who I am, who I have been, and commit myself to being who I will be, a strong man, an understanding husband, a kind father, a leader sensitive to the cry of God’s people. I am no longer that child who lived in fear, fear, and loneliness. Today I promise to be the strong man that God has put in my heart, a sensitive man, who knows that there is nothing to fear, because I have a God who will always be with me, no matter what happens.

This is my desert, this is my process, this is my reality. This is my dream, this is my longing, and this is what God will accomplish with me. At the end of the day, if God has not given up on me before, he will not do it now, in the same way that I have not given up on regaining my dreams, my desires, and those I love the most in the world. No, I will not surrender. Today more than ever, I can say with conviction that I am becoming a Nicolás Toma according to the heart and strength of God. That is who I am. Nothing will ever change it.

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