As 2020 began, people took to social media to share their resolutions and goals, as if sharing them publicly would somehow make them come to fruition quicker and easier. Some people forgo resolutions and goals altogether and choose one word to focus on for the year.
I have a confession to make. I think choosing a word of the year is a great idea, and every year I pick my word eagerly, only to discard it like old resolutions and goals after a few weeks. I can’t remember any of the words I chose in the past, so that tells you the level of commitment I have given to the endeavor.
This year is different. As I celebrate My Big Fat Bipolar Life’s first birthday, I am reevaluating the way the way I look at everything, so when someone posted a quiz to find your word for the year, I took the quiz. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually took the quiz twice to double-check the outcome. I know, that is so me.)
Word of the Year
My word of the year is STAND.
The word immediately resonated with me because it speaks to where I am in life right now—my personal journey as a woman, wife and mother—and my journey writing my blog.
As I complete year one of My Big Fat Bipolar Life, I am sifting through twelve months of hard work and fine-tuning my blog. I am shifting priorities to help balance work and home, so I can respect my audience while not shortchanging my family.
Here are six ways I will take a stand for mental illness through my blog, My Big Fat Bipolar Life, in 2020:
1. Stand Back
The term stand back is defined as “to withdraw from a situation emotionally in order to view it more objectively.”
Wow! This is exactly where I am at with my blog. When I launched my blog a year ago, I started strong with content focused on my experience with mental illness and my take on several symptoms of bipolar disorder.
But then I started taking classes about blogging and how to make money from blogging. That is when I lost my focus because I was trying to keep up with the Joneses—producing more commercial content week after week—even if the content was weak and not up to my standards or vision.
I had to stand back and look at what I was doing objectively. I realized that trying to be like everyone one else in the blogging world did not serve my audience well.
I realized that my blog is not like everyone else’s, and I am okay with that because I am in the business of providing encouragement and hope while we stand together to change the conversation about mental illness and suicide.
Do I want to have a profitable blog? Of course, I do, but for the moment, My Big Fat Bipolar Life is about changing lives, not the balance in my checkbook.
2. Stand Up
Once I saw what I was doing wrong, you would think it would be an easy fix. Not so much.
I was still that hamster on the spinning wheel, getting nowhere. I believed if I didn’t publish a 1,200-word post every single week, it made me a failure.
I had to jump off that spinning wheel, do some serious soul searching and make hard choices.
Before I could stand back up, I had to hit my knees and pray. I spent the whole month of January in focused prayer about my blog and my life. God solidified my mission and vision for My Big Fat Bipolar Life and my Facebook community, The Light Brigade.
My mission for My Big Fat Bipolar Life and The Light Brigade has always been to change the conversation about mental illness and suicide by sharing my story and creating a safe, Christ-centered, interactive community for those with mental illness—and those who love them—to share their stories and find support, encouragement and hope.
This blog post is me standing back up and embracing that vision as I do my part to change the conversation about mental illness and suicide. It is me committing to spend more time focused on supporting and encouraging the members of The Light Brigade.
3. Stand Tall
Stand tall is defined as “being proud and confident.”
This post is the first step of me standing tall and embracing all that God has done and will do with My Big Fat Bipolar Life. This is me admitting that I am more afraid of succeeding than failing because I can’t fathom what success looks like and how I will navigate it.
If you are mentally ill and you are reading this, I think you understand what I mean.
In the past, every time I stepped out to do anything of significance in my life, bipolar disorder always swatted me down and put me in my place. The voice in the back of my head is ever-present—taunting me with reminders of all the times I have fallen short.
After a while, failure becomes a comfortable—even safe—place. At least, that’s what you believe.
I have realized the only way to break free from the chains of my past failures is to push through and stand tall as I work toward success one step at a time—confident that the one who lives in me is bigger than bipolar disorder and any other obstacle I might face.
4. Stand Out
Stand out is defined as “one that is prominent or conspicuous especially because of excellence.”
I have spent the last two decades trying to be inconspicuous. I thought if I blended in and was just a face in the crowd, no one would notice that I was different. They could never tell by looking at me I have bipolar disorder.
When I accepted God’s call to launch My Big Fat Bipolar Life, I made a choice to step out of the shadows. I made a choice to speak out about mental illness and suicide—and not just on special, designated days of the year.
I made a choice to embrace the gifts and talents God has given me. Not just embrace them, but also do them justice. Do Him justice.
And while I stand by the blog posts I wrote my first year of blogging, there reached a point where having new content took precedence over having excellent content.
I am no longer willing to make that compromise.
What does that mean practically for My Big Fat Bipolar Life?
There might not be a new blog post every single week. If I want to create noteworthy content, it may take longer than a week to research, write and edit. I would rather publish a great blog post every other week than something mediocre week after week.
5. Stand Alone
If I am willing write about the topics no one wants to talk about, there will be posts that will make some readers uncomfortable. I am perfectly okay with that. We will not change the conversation about mental illness and suicide by being polite.
If I am willing to write controversial posts, then I must be willing to stand alone when others speak out against my stance.
Part of standing alone is having the wisdom and discernment to defend my stance, but also listen to my critics and adjust my stance if warranted. I aim to always have a teachable spirit.
6. Stand Firm
Stand firm is the stand that ties all the other ones together.
When I googled the word stand, I found a definition that summarizes my mission: “a determined effort to resist or fight for something.”
Standing firm means resisting the urge to give up when I face challenges. It means fighting for those who are mentally ill who don’t have a voice.
It means creating a forum, so I can be heard and help others be heard.
God gave me a scripture that describes what standing firm looks like in relation to my blog: “So now, beloved ones, stand firm and secure. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures” (1 Corinthians 15:58 TPT).
I will stand firm—secure knowing that I am on a mission that is both God-centered and God-directed.
I will mimic Hebrews 10:23 and “hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful” (NIV).
I will hold on to the truth that my labor is not in vain because God can use even my meager efforts to affect lasting change.
Even when my pageviews are low and my anxiety is high, I will remember that I am doing kingdom work that will endure long after I am gone.
I will stand firm. Will you stand with me?
To become part of the conversation, click here to like My Big Fat Bipolar Life’s Facebook page.
Do you or someone you love struggle with mental illness? Click here to join my Facebook community, The Light Brigade, to find support, encouragement, and hope.
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