I think that everyone would agree that the beginning of a New Year feels fresh with hope.
Resolutions are made…and broken, with the ferocity of a wolf cub. I used to run myself ragged trying to become someone I was not simply because I thought it was who I should be. As I’ve gotten older and the reality of passing time has hit me, I’ve adjusted my many expectations of myself and have spent more time in reflection of who I truly am. My passions.
Many people in lieu of resolutions have instead chosen a single focus word to use throughout the year – me included. Last year I chose WONDER. And while I think I lost sight of that pretty quickly in the busyness that became my reality in 2018, I don’t think my soul ever let go of it.
Reflecting on what we have left behind us can help us to see where we need to go. It can show us what went wrong, what we did right and where we simply need to regroup.
Reflecting back, I see WONDER in places I never thought to look. Here is a snapshot of my year:
- We put on a wedding for my oldest son – a DIY wedding. And while it was an enormous undertaking, the beauty that came from it, the relationships built, was a WONDER-filled work of God. We grew in community and love with the addition of a new family, and it humbled me to see the gathered hearts loving on our joined children.
- A DIY babyshower- and welcoming baby Wyatt. Another HUGE event (so, her family is big…and their community of friends even bigger!) We planned, built and executed another enormous event. If I’m honest, it made me tired. But the WONDER of life that came after, was simply amazing. The event blessed the parents-to-be so much, and the out-pouring of love that they received by our friends and family, so important to their sense of community and relationship. I think science has reduced the miracle of birth down to simple processes, and we forget how incredible it truly is. But when that little one came into the world, kicking and screaming, he knocked out any notion of simplicity any of us may have had.
- Kitchen Renovations were completed. So, this was a long time coming….like 3 years. I’d been working in a makeshift kitchen for so long that I truly forgot what it was like to have a counter-top. By Christmas we had a floor, ceiling, walls, new electric and plumbing, new cabinets and counter-tops. With everything else going on this year both physically and financially, it is truly a WONDER that this project came to fruition. God is good. All the time.
- My husband quit a job and started a business. I won’t lie, that was the sketchiest part of my year. To say I was stressed is an understatement. But somehow, someway, through the grace of God we managed to get through it, and this coming year is looking promising indeed. I stand in awe of the WONDER of God, of His love and grace and provision through 2018.
SOOOOoooo…. here we are in 2019. I’ve thought and pondered about a focus word that would take me deeper. One that would help me to focus more on who I am and where I’m going. What I came up with surprised me a bit.
It is CLOSER
I don’t take these things lightly, if I am going to make the effort, I want it to be focusing on the right things. I’ve spent too much time in my youth chasing things that didn’t matter. It is time for that to change.
I want my life to matter
To me, CLOSER invokes a feeling of intimacy, communion, and a deeper level of understanding.
Do you choose focus words?
Would you like to?
Here are a few ideas of how to discover your word for 2019:
- Take your time- if you decide too quickly, chances are that it isn’t truly meaningful to you. Too often we are rash in our decision and don’t contemplate them properly. It is the truly meaningful things in our life that will bring about the greatest change.
- Ask yourself questions – Am I trying to change a habit? Do I have a realistic chance for success? Will I still want to focus on this in 3 months…6 months….a year? Will this make me a better person, or simply change my circumstance? Asking yourself questions like this will help you to see more clearly what you hope to get from this increased focus. Is it worthy of your time? I’ve found that doing something simply for a material reward of some sort is not worthy of my attention or time. But if there is a greater purpose in mind, such as moving closer to who you were created to be, then that same activity that will produce the external reward is also what will produce internal change.
- Make a list – What are your dreams, desires, passions? Make an exhaustive list of them.n EVERYTHING you have ever hoped for, wanted, or prayed for. Writing these all down in a journal will help you to see consistencies. Are there repeating elements? (for instance do they all have to do with your job, a relationship, or some other endeavor) Free writing can really help you to see what is truly in your heart and soul. I talk about it in a post running on my blog CREATIVE FAITH today – (read that here)
- Brainstorm – Once you start to see a pattern in your thinking, brainstorm how you can delve deeper into that focus. What activity would help you to get to the place you desire to be. (for instance if you want to have a deeper relationship with God, you might want to increase your prayer time, start to journal in the morning the things He puts on your heart, or begin a new bible study to discover more about who He is) Write down at least 10 ideas of things you can do to further your quest. \
- Choose your word – By now there should be all sorts of things running through your mind. You’ve done all the work to get your heart opening up to the possibilities. Now it is time to choose. You may have a few words that pop into your mind. If that is the case, think about these 3 things: 1. Will this word help me to grow in my relationships with family and friends? 2. Will this word bring me closer to my God, or push me further away? 3. Will this word bring me closer to a meaning-filled life in communion with the world around me?
When it comes down to it, the greatest fulfillment we will experience is when we give of ourselves sacrificially. Whether that is through time, money, encouragement, or some other form of gifting, is up to you. But the greatest joy you will experience is giving others joy. I’m especially partial to sharing my knowledge and love for art. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than to see someone create a unique expression of themselves, and to realize the creative they were born to be.
Discovering your word is such a personal thing. Remember that it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else…only you. So take your time and search you heart and soul. Your purpose may depend on it!