So, as I have pondered whether or not to choose a word, I have come to a decisive conclusion that my word for 2016 is STRONG.
Different people define STRONG in various ways. Urban dictionary defines it as: Someone who comes off as confident, someone who is comfortable in their own skin. Merriam Webster defines it as: having great physical power and ability; or not easy to break or damage.
I have often been misinterpreted as a weak person because I am quiet, or because I am kind. My kindness is mistaken for weakness, and in those moments, I have let those who are interpreting me that way define my aura. No longer will that be the case. In 2015 I did a large amount of personal inward growth. I discovered confidence in the midst of chaos. I became comfortable in awkward scenarios. I did not break as easily as I had in the past.... because I learned new truths about myself and began to believe those.
Now, for 2016, it is time I apply those and prove to others as much as to myself, that I am STRONG.
Emotionally STRONG: Strong does not mean I do not still struggle. In fact, I would say I am stronger than any one of you may ever know because of my struggles. I wake up every day and battle the demons of depression and fight the war of anxiety. It's a silent battle, and you may never see the warrior in me, but she is raging war every day in a beautiful way, and new strength emerges in those moments. And every day that God helps me fight that battle, He grows me stronger emotionally.
Physically STRONG: Strong does not mean I will be the most beautifully defined woman muscularly. But I will work on this area this year. I will get back to weight training and grow physically stronger. I will work towards being better in my running and attaining a PR before this year ends. I will allow myself some good eats, but I will also learn the power of resistance so that my strength does not disappear.
Mentally STRONG: Similar to emotionally strong, Being strong in this area does not mean my worries or my hurts disappear. It means I take those and use them to make me better. Mental and Emotional in my life are intertwined.
Family STRONG: I can't tell you I completely understand or have defined this category yet, I just know that it has been one that has been a bit worn down over the years, and this year we are working to build our family stronger. The battles have already begun in this area, but I am determined to be stronger here. My kids are growing fast, and time is passing quickly. This year, I will work to do my part to strengthen our family.
Verbally STRONG: Strong verbally does not mean I will walk into the room and be the loudest in the crowd. Verbally strong just means that I have found my voice.... and I am not afraid to use it any longer. I have learned how to better say no. I have learned to stand up for myself in appropriate ways. And I have learned to speak my opinion when necessary. I'm still figuring out the balance at times with this, but verbally strong doesn't mean I speak over everyone. It simply means I know when it is appropriate to share my stance.
Spiritually STRONG: While I chose this area for last, I did so because it resonates the most powerfully in my life. I have sat the backseat of my faith at times. Being Spiritually strong does not mean I am going to get in others' face with my beliefs. No, that is not it at all. Spiritually strong simply means I have convictions and I will stick to them. Spiritually strong means relying on God fully to be my strength. He has taught me to let go of a lot of things and people; now I am learning to let Him fill those gaps, so that I can be spiritually stronger. Spiritually strong means sharing my story and not being afraid of it. Spiritually strong also has come to mean a very powerful aspect of life for me: it means I rely on His strength for all of these above STRONG items. It means that without Him, I can do none of these. I know that in my own power, I am weak. I know that I battle my mind every day, but only by His power can I overcome. It is in His Strength that my weaknesses are made perfect. And this year I will embrace that deeper. So that He becomes stronger in me. So that I can be STRONG.
So, as 2016 is well on its way, I will choose to be STRONG this year. In every category. Because I am a warrior. I am a fighter. And I will not back down.
Deuteronomy 31:6 , MSG says " Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them second thought because God, your God is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down. He won't leave you. "