For the past five years I have chosen a word to define my year instead of list of resolutions. Since starting this tradition, each word has revealed something new to my life. Pushing me to accomplish different things in my life, including writing this blog. Each word is more than simply a word but more so a theme for the year.
At the start of this year I did not have my word. Half heartedly, I tried out a few different words. But none of them felt right. In reality, they felt wrong, false somehow to where I am in my life.
Then it came to me. Actually it had be in front of me the whole time. Coming up several times in conversation with friends.
This is my year of learning.
Learning about myself, who I am in Christ, my community and the larger world beyond.
I need to learn.
I am willing to learn.
I want to learn.
It fits in perfectly to where I am in my life. I look forward to seeing how this word will affect this year. The adventures and experiences it will take me on.
Last year was a long, hard year. Not only because of the stress of the election ( and its outcome) but also personally. For the past few years I have chosen a word to define the year and for 2016 I had chosen Stretched. What was I thinking when I chose this word ( or did it choose me?)! In years past I have picked YES, LOVE, and BOLDNESS as my words. While I encountered challenges in those years with them, always learning and growing with them, never have I been as challenged as I have been this year.
I liken it to praying for patience, I don’t know about you but when I have prayed for that in my life it shows my lack of patience! It’s like God is saying alright, you really don’t know what you are asking for here but I will answer your prayer. I have been challenged and stretched in various areas of my life, from learning how to work in a ministry, leading young adults at church, getting some kind of grasp on my financials and being pushed out of my comfort zones. I say zones because there is always more than just one isn’t there?
The biggest and most recent is moving out of my sister’s house. It wasn’t something planned but it had to happen when it did for the sake of my family and future relationships. This was hard and painful and for a most of last month I was in survival mode. In the end it has all worked out, I have found a new place to live, with friends whom I am growing closer in relationship with each day.
Another comfort zone I had was in ministry. For several years I have served at my church in the area of stage design. For many of those years it either myself or myself and one other person. Which meant I HAD to do everything otherwise things would not get done. Anyone who serves at church knows that this was not a healthy place to be in. This year I have learned how to delegate ( this has also become my new favorite word!) with my team. This has meant me letting go of wanting to be in control of how the church looks each week and trusting what my team is doing with it. It has meant placing others in charge in preparing for Easter and Christmas Eve services. This has been so freeing! Letting go of control ( when I believed I didn’t have control issues oops!) is the best gift.
The best way to put it is that God stretched me this year by having me see where I needed to also let go. It didn’t mean I needed to take on more but had to jettison what wasn’t helping me grow in relationship to him. Letting go doesn’t mean one no longer cares but also sees that others care as well. If I take on everything I am not allowing someone else to also serve God.
As I reflect on the words for each past year, I see a larger word behind them. Namely trust, in order to say YES, I have to trust. Same with LOVE, BOLDNESS and STRETCHED. I have to trust God and His providence, not mine.
As I prepare my heart, mind, body and spirit for the new year this is where I sit. In adoration of what God does all the time in my own life and in the lives of others around me. I am not sure of a word for 2017 as if yet or at all.
It seems as if my word for this year chose me. I was not thinking about a word or even seriously considering a word when it went and chose me instead. These past few years I have subscribed to the idea of choosing a single word to define my year. Doing this instead of writing out a list of soon forgotten resolutions.
By focusing on one word each of these years, it has been an adventure. Each year I have grown and matured. Often facing hard truths about myself in the process. Each time I have been Stretched. Each time it has been a good, but not always easy thing to get through.
I have moved forward with so many goals and achieved so much more. I can not tell you if it was because by choosing a word instead of placing a list of to do’s on myself the pressure was off. Pressure of not living up to an arbitrary list.
Perhaps that was the key all along. The desire to do better, attempting new things was always there deep in my heart. After all it was the same list year after year. But after focusing on one word and seeing how much more I accomplished.
As I stated above, my word for this year snuck up on me. In fact I did not consider this word until I reread a previous blog post. It stuck up out at me like a beacon.
Stretched. It occurred to me that each word that I had chosen in the past had done just that in their own way.
Stretched. Each word had grown me in so many ways.
Stretched. I look forward to seeing how this will play out in this new year.
Do you choose a word? How do you begin the new year?
Register your word on the One Word 365 website
Photo Credit: Erica Rodriguez (Mua Loa Photography Inc.) @mualoaphotog
Is it June already? How did this happen?! It can’t be half way through the year but the calendar does not lie. Time swirls past me more and more quickly. I began to think on how my word choice for this year has manifested itself thus far. My one word 365 for 2014 is BOLDNESS. This is a movement where instead of a list of resolutions, a word is chosen to live and grow into for that year.
According to the Merriam- Webster Dictionary it is defined as /adj/ 1.Courageous Intrepid. 2. Impudent. 3.Steep 4.Adventurous, Free ( i.e. thinker) /syn/ dauntless, brave, valiant- boldly /adv/ boldness.
As I sifted through the past six months I began to wonder just how closely my life has resembled this definition. Had I been courageous? Yes, I put myself out there in a way that I had not before. After getting the anticipated answer, I felt free. I simply I had to hear what I already suspected.
Have I been Intrepid? Defined as resolute fearlessness, fortitude and endurance. I can also say yes to this as well. I keep going forward no matter what life throws at me. I have strength only because God gives me the strength to do so. From dealing with tough situations with the ones I love to a double health scare with my parents. Yes I have been intrepid.
Now have I been Steep? Defined as a verb it means to saturate. To learn. I am in the midst of learning all I can about becoming a professional writer. Checking out books from the library, joining up with classes and webinars as I can afford. Asking my friends who have their own businsees advice on the steps I need to take as a freelance writer.
Adventurous is the next definition. Have I taken risks? Yes, in starting my writing career that is a risk. By moving my blog to wordpress and figuring out how to grow this blog. I took a risk running my first half marathon. Taking risks means that the reward is not always in the results. It is in the trying. In the attempt. And in the next and next and yes the next. I need more of this in this my life. I need to take more risk.
Am I free? Yes I am free. I am free not because of my hope in my plan. I am free because of who I am in Christ. It is through Him that I have become so bold in the ways that I am.
Am I dauntless, brave and valiant? I hope so. I hope I am dauntless in my acts of love. Have I been brave? Yes I can be far braver than I have in my life so far. Have I been valiant? Yes in being brave and courageous in small ways.
Being BOLD does not always mean large, out loud acts. Often it means small acts of bravery that add over time. It means being willing to take risks that can lead to failure or disappointment. Being bold means letting go of things that can hold me back and asking the hard questions.
These six months of living boldly has shown me a lot. Embracing boldness as my word for this year builds upon my words from past years. They are more like building blocks than simply a word. My first word was YES and the next years was LOVE. Those words have helped me grow in my faith and therefore in my life. That is where I am for my six month check in for my year of BOLDNESS.