Have you chosen a word for 2024? This trend interests me because I find it much more relatable than resolutions. To me, resolutions feel like pressure, sadness, and unmet expectations. They feel like unattainable goals that I will probably fail at, so why try? If goal setting motivates you, have at it. Choosing a word for the year works better for me, because it gives me context and motivation as I move forward into whatever the coming months might bring. It informs my intention and my choices. It supports my purpose.
My word for 2024 is BOLD.
Since publishing my memoir, The Ninth Child, I have discovered that sharing my story is making a difference to people who have experienced similar trauma. I have a stage, however small, and I want to use that stage well. I want to support others who are on a mental health and trauma recovery journey. I want to join the people who are working to raise awareness of mental health, especially within faith communities. There are some amazing people doing meaningful work in this arena, and I want to have conversations with them, so I am boldly knocking on some big doors.
In March 2023, I was a guest on my church’s podcast, Can We Ask You This? I LOVE this podcast because they dive into conversations that typically make old-school church ladies clutch their pearls. They invited me to tell my trauma story and share how I kept colliding with hope until God led me to meaningful treatment through neurofeedback brain training. You can listen to my episode and subscribe here.
In December 2023, I was a guest on Bleeding Daylight. Rodney Olsen is an insightful and prepared host. We talked about how critical it is for church to be a safe place for people who struggle with mental illness and trauma experiences. Rodney is having interesting conversations with change-makers who continue to challenge faith leaders to lean into authentic vulnerability. I’m a fan, and I think you will be too. You can listen to my interview here, and don’t forget to subscribe.
In February 2024, my interview with Dr. E’Toyare Williams will drop on the BeVicTORIEus podcast. Dr. Williams is doing critical work in ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) awareness. We talk about my ACEs score, what influenced my score, and the work that needs to be done to make faith communities a safe place for people with a mental illness or trauma story. Follow her podcast here, and be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss my upcoming episode.
This week I applied to five more podcasts. These are major players in mental health and trauma recovery world. I am definitely making some big asks, but as Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so I’m going to keep knocking on big doors until one of them cracks open. In the meantime, I am going to take every opportunity given to me, big or small, to talk about mental health and trauma recovery in faith communities.
What about you? Are you ready to make some big asks? Or are you holding back, feeling too intimidated to knock on those big doors?
Let me remind you of something important…
You deserve to take up as much space in this world as you need. You are allowed to have a voice. You are allowed to use that voice. You matter. Your story matters. Someone needs to hear what you have to say, so speak up!
I believe these things to my very core, yet my inner critic is rising up again to tell me all the ways I’m not worthy. All the ways I don’t matter. All the reasons I should cower in the corner and shut up.
My inner critic’s name is Stanley. He is an old curmudgeon with stooped posture, a greasy comb-over, too-short suspendered pants pulled up to his armpits, and a wrinkled button-up shirt. One of his socks has fallen to pool at his bony ankle. He loves to tell me how worthless he thinks I am, but he’s wrong. I know how to make him go away. I simply say “Shut up, Stanley.” It’s very satisfying to watch him go Poof and disappear.
Who is your inner critic? What do they look like? What are they wearing? Give them a persona. Give them a name. Then tell them to shut up. Say it often and say it loudly. Tell your safe people about your “Stanley” so when they catch you talking trash about yourself, they can tell your inner critic to shut up too.
Make the big move. Make the big ask. Let’s be bold together this year. Leave me a note and tell me how it’s going so we can cheer each other on and celebrate together!