What is strong?

Seriously, what does the word strong mean to you? Is it the student I see standing in the library who recently cut and bleached her hair and added a small pink streak?  Is it the other student who led a discussion in Bible class yesterday and shared that she had over 200 scars on her body from self-harm? Is it the woman who stays in a difficult marriage or the one who chooses to leave one in order to salvage the emotional health of herself and her children? Is a strong parent one who chooses to disassociate with an adult child whose life and activities is different from their own or one who chooses to do what it takes to stay connected?

What is strong?


This is what strong looks like to me.  Balanced.  Committed.  Looking ahead.  Follow through.

We use the same word to describe our bodies, spirits, and souls, so the conversation can be a little tricky.  I was asked, though, about my definition of strong and two things came to mind: yoga and facing challenges.  I’m not interested in being a marathon runner or in transforming myself into an extreme athlete.  I do, however, want to quit using excuses and face the fears that have kept me from being good to my own body.  My own spirit.

Think about it: what’s strengthening about making excuses for yourself?  How does that help raise your confidence?  It doesn’t. Not in the least.

I’m done making big promises.  I can’t snap my fingers and turn myself into a consistent walker, a yogi, or a daily meditator.  I can, however, call my excuses for what they are and take baby steps to conquering my fear of physically challenging things.

Baby step 1: map a 5K walk in my neighborhood and look for a e-day-a week couch to 5K program.  I do not want to become a runner. I honestly have no desire to do that.  I do, however, want to prove to myself that I will not die if I do something physically challenging.

I’m not exaggerating.  It’s a fear.

But not for long.


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