They say that when things are tough, the tough get going.

Well, I hardly would consider myself a ‘tough’ person, although many people have told me I am strong. I’m not sure if I believe them or if they simply say it to encourage me, or if they really DO see a strength in me that I cannot see for myself. Because when I look at what’s inside of me, I see human weakness, and frailty. I see someone who has been broken too many times to count, yet possesses this strange sense of resilience that even I don’t understand.

I have been disillusioned far too many times to count, in areas such as faith, my beliefs, my values and my understanding of morality.

I have always felt like I am a far too dependent person, simply because I allow myself to be vulnerable, real and open with those closest to me. I would also say that I am REAL with everyone, as I have not yet figured out how to hide on the outside what is happening on the inside. And I appreciate authenticity anyway, so I choose to be authentic.

I feel like I am in a sad state of affairs internally, as I currently continue to battle disillusionment in many areas of my life. Perhaps this is what happens when idealization shatters in front of you. Which is funny, really, in an ironic sort of way, because I have always thought of myself as a realist rather than an idealist. Possessing the ability to hope for and believe for the ideal, but to willingly accept the real.

What doesn’t make sense to me now, however, is that though I feel disillusioned, I am picking myself up off the floor, and going on. Damaged by what has harmed me, yet I am picking up pieces and moving towards the goals I have in my life, that are as of yet, unrealized. Perhaps I am placing my hope in something new while the rest of my life feels shattered? Or maybe this is how you move on, and grow. Maybe this is a mark of maturity, an embracing of all that is, no matter how unpleasant, and growing up and becoming someone who is less dependent on other’s, capable of achieving my dreams and reaching some long lost goals.

Maybe I finally am strong enough to accomplish what I have allowed fear, anxiety & insecurity to hold me back from. Maybe I misunderstand the definition of what it means to be strong. Maybe the harshness of life is a training ground to make us tough enough to handle the hardship, while keeping us soft enough to receive the healing & inspiration we need to move forward.

Coming back to my opening line about what happens when the going gets tough… Perhaps they are right that the tough do get going.

In my own life, no matter what I feel I am struggling with internally, on the outside, I see initiative like I have never known before. I used to feel like getting motivated was a tough thing for me. I allowed a lot of things to hold me back- mostly anxiety and fears.

But perhaps going through some of the most difficult things in my life, facing my worst fears, and some I never imagined possible, I came out on the other end finally with the belief ‘what is man? And what can he do to me?’ maybe it’s because it’s all been done… And I’m still standing. (although sometimes I feel like I’m crawling… And then those other days were even crawling out of bed feels like a chore…)

The point is, that maybe I’ve overcome my fear. Maybe my fear of rejection has been solved by experiencing it, and living to tell the tale.

But whatever it is, I’m moving forward. I’m taking my life in my hands and saying ‘I will not allow fear to hold me back anymore’ and I press forward towards the dreams, desires and visions I’ve carried for years, but held myself back from due to fear or negative self talk about myself.

Maybe the confidence I was hoping to get from others, the affirmation and reassurance, is coming from within, instead of from external sources. I feel motivated like never before to accomplish my dreams. My goals. I feel like nothing can stop me. Because the things I thought could, have not destroyed me. Perhaps I’ve been set back a little, but I am pushing forward. There is within me an inner resolve, and an inner resource of life & love I didn’t know I could possess in light of the trauma I endured last year.

It’s my time. To reach out and grab what I have longed for and yet had allowed myself to be held back by for so long.

Is this what they call resilience? Is this what strength is? Perhaps I have misunderstood what strength is.

I want to share a poem with you I wrote a while back about hope in the middle of a storm. Here it is:

Though I am Weak

Though I am weak in my flesh
I feel my spirit coming to life.
Love bursts forth from my heart
Like the dawn of the sun,
Overflowing like a tidal wave
Sweeping over the broken places within me
Making all things new.
Hope arises, is stirring anew
The love for the broken
Makes me new.
When I am rejected, I love all the more
The love of God covers the failures of men,
His light is shining bright in my heart
The morning has come.
His love floods my heart
With his pure love
Covering over my imperfect human
Capacity for loving.
He empowers me anew,
His armor he puts upon me
His strength has come.
‘the journey ahead is too much for you’ he said…
Rest, eat, sleep…
He has come to my aid,
Come to my defense
His shield is upon me,
I rest beneath his feathers,
His wings overshadow me
Like a mother hen,
As he heals and mends the broken
Places in my soul.
I breathe in deeply
A breath of clean air,
Throw my hands up,
Weary from fighting on my own.
I surrender, I trust. I rest in you.
You are my defender,
The one who lifts my eyes up
To the hills
When my head is too weary to lift my gaze upon you.
My strength & my help
Come from the Lord.
His salvation for me has come.
My first love renewed.

-Katie Meilleur

So here is my closing question for the day, and I would really love to invite your commentary and thoughts on the subject. How do you define strength? What is it? What does it look like? Feel like? How does it function? What… IS strength?