Wednesday, March 10, 2010


What comes to mind when you think of the word strength?

More specifically, what personality traits and behaviors come to mind? My first thoughts go toward an image of someone who is extroverted, loud, forceful with their ideas and opinions, not easily persuaded, and successful at whatever they put their mind toward achieving.

None of these things describe me.

I'm introverted, usually quiet, sometimes easily persuaded (just ask my husband who convinces me of all sorts of wild things on a weekly basis), and often scared to try new things for fear that I may fail in some way.

If you use my above definition of strength I fail on all counts.

But a few years ago, during a work retreat, someone used the word strength to describe me and it has stuck in my mind ever since.

We were doing an activity where each person was given a large sheet of paper on a wall, and everyone was asked to go around and write something on each person's paper that describes them...their personality or something you like about them.

Of course there were the usual words like "nice", "happy", "funny" etc. But someone wrote two words on my paper that, when I read them, struck me so profoundly because they described a self that I had never recognized.

quiet strength

Wow. Me? Strength? Really?

But not just strength. Quiet strength. What is that exactly? At the time I didn't fully understand what having quiet strength meant. But now, looking back on the last two years of twin-raising and mommy-job-life-juggling, I think I can truly understand the definition of that phrase.

Quiet strength is making it through each and every day

trying to live the life that God wants for me

doing my best to be a good wife and mother

finding the right balance between time to nurture my family and time to nurture my spirit

investing myself in my work and the community of people I work with

trying to be humble, transparent, and intentional in my relationships with others

always asking myself if I'm doing the right thing at the right time for the right person

trying to never put my agenda ahead of what is best for my family or for others

knowing when to ask for help

doing all of this with a happy and thankful heart

Quiet strength is strength that often isn't seen or heard, but is felt by those you choose to share your life with. I'm humbled that those two words were used to describe me, and try my best every day to live up to them. (although some days I fail miserably...we are all a work in progress, right?)

It seems like a pretty great set of words to strive for, doesn't it?

*Someone also wrote on my paper that I have a good laugh - and on days when my quiet strength isn't quite so quiet or strong, I can at least lean on the fact that I don't sound like Janice from Friends when I hear a good joke.

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