This Week’s Word is…FORTITUDE


There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

Definition of Fortitude: Strength of mind to be courageous in overcoming obstacles, bearing adversity and resisting temptation for the sake of doing what is right, loving, and good.

Oooh, give me some of that! I want to do what is right, loving, and good!

And yet, just last night, I allowed myself to listen to that other voice in me. The voice of vacillation, or stopping short, or cowardice. I chose the easier path – more than once! I sat down to think about what gets in my way of practicing fortitude. Here are a few thoughts I came up with. Perhaps you can relate.

  • Not being crystal clear with myself about what doing “right, loving, and good” actually means and what it looks like in my life. I can easily move through my days on auto-pilot, without intention and focus. (Last week’s word was Intention. You can read that post here).
  • A Scarcity mindset: thoughts and beliefs of what I “should” or “shouldn’t” do; of who I’m “supposed to” or “not supposed to” be. When I try to live up to cultural norms and external expectations, I lose the focus and intention that Fortitude is all about.
  • An inner conversation that isn’t always supportive: Fortitude is easier to come by when I am relating with myself in a supportive and encouraging way. Fortitude is solid, grounded, and strong. I cultivate fortitude when I stand by myself, affirm my good choices, and ensure my inner dialogue is supportive (rather than critical or judgmental).

The exercise below will help us bring intention to the bullet points above. Let’s also remember that Jesus is the model of fortitude. He spent His entire life doing what was right despite opposition. Especially now, during Lent, I will call on Him more and more, leaning into His strength and constancy when my own are wavering.

EXERCISE: Fortitude in Action Spend a few quiet minutes in prayer, asking the following questions:

  1. Where in my mothering could I bring a bit more fortitude?
  2. What are the words or messages of my inner conversation that typically lead me to choose the easier path, and to NOT practice fortitude? (i.e.: “It’s not that big of a deal.” “Nobody will care anyway.” “You don’t have enough time…” “Do you think you’re better than them? They’re not worrying about it. Why should you?”
  3. What new words or messages could you speak to yourself, in order to support yourself in developing and practicing fortitude? (i.e.: “You’re strong, you can do this.” “This means a lot to you. Don’t shy away, for fear of what others will think.” “God, help me to take the extra step now. I know this is important to You (and to me).”)
  4. What will it look like when you practice greater fortitude? What will you be doing or saying differently?

Click on the picture below to download a 2″x3″ Fortitude Card for your mirror, refrigerator, computer monitor, etc. Fortitude Card

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