My Word for the Year

Here it is. The end of January. I tend to think of the end of January as the as the End of the Beginning. So, it’s time to move into 2019.

I’ve left all my thank you notes, all my New Year’s greetings until now. Bad on me. I really DO appreciate the gifts and I really DO want certain people to know that I remember them and wish them blessings. Maybe I’ll send Valentines. (Self-care tool: put it off! LOL!)

Rather than putting off, I’ve deliberately left choosing my Word for the Year until now.

I’m not usually so OCD about choosing a Word for the Year but I’m feeling a need to “get it right’ because I’m feeling the need for major change. Now I KNOW I can’t make a major (or even a big) change in one year, one leap. However, I’m feeling this year is pivotal somehow. Besides, I’m not getting any younger and I no longer feel I have the luxury of time. Of course, no one really does because no one knows what might happen in the next moment. But age tends to accentuate the need to make the most of time in general.

Last year’s Word was HOPE. A very good word and something I felt I needed to “work” on. “Work” isn’t really the right thing to call it. “Working” on a Word for the Year is more like reminding myself of it, intentionally looking for it, checking to see if my thoughts and speech line up with it. It was a good Word and I feel like it served me well, helping me BE more hopeful and becoming much better acquainted with it. Hope has become a friend I understand and love, not just a nebulous idea. I can’t say I thought about it everyday but I did come back to it over the course of the year. Re-visiting it, checking in with it. There were times I fought it. Other times I simply embraced it. And in the process of all that, it became real, with a real place in my heart of hearts.

I began thinking about my new Word toward the end of December… continued mulling into the first week of January. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time deciding on a Word this year. It’s just a Word. I CAN change it at any moment. I’m not chiseling it in stone, after all!

Thankfully, I read an article  that suggested, among other things, that we take the month of January to try words on, let them simmer and then settle on the Word at the end of the month… begin using the Word as your guide in February. Great advice! (see end notes and read that article. It’s really good!)

As I was having so much trouble find the right Word, I took a couple of online “quizzes”. I put very little stock in those quizzes, but it was kind of fun and, oops, kind of eye-opening. Still. Those words didn’t fit well. I also did an Art Journaling Challenge with Matt Tommey (see end notes). While I didn’t follow the challenge totally (don’t tell Matt), it did help and I filled several pages with words and stars, arrows, happy faces and sad faces, colors and shapes. As I wrote or read or heard podcasts and sermons, certain words would stand out and I’d star them, write them, research them and let them simmer.

A word that kept finding its what to my paper is “possible”. A really good word and one I need to start believing more. “Nothing is impossible with God”. “All things are possible for those who believe”. Although it’s not exactly what I need, it would be a good choice.

“Risk” is another word that kept showing up when I meditated on how to proceed. Risk is not a word I would associate with myself. I’m generally not a risk-taker, don’t like risky situations because I manage to see danger in anything. But risk is something I need! I need to risk belief, to risk putting my art and craft out there, to risk being vulnerable. “Risk” is a word I need in my life. I could (and might) do an entire blog on risk. But that’s not the “right” word, either. Not right now.

I won’t list all the words I considered while brainstorming. I LOVE words, so you can imagine there are many scattered in journals and notes and scrappies scattered everywhere. It got to the point where I felt like I was in a windstorm of words, all swirling around me, hitting me, telling me how much I need each of them. Just reading back over my lists, I start to feel that overwhelm again.

I started in December with the word “abide”. It’s a great word. It refers to a dwelling place. As a verb, it means to remain, continue; stay. Good stuff! Abide can mean to tolerate, put up with; stand firm. Also, to endure, sustain or withstand without yielding or submitting; to wait for. It suggests a determination to stay in agreement with a thing. It showed up on my lists many times.

I have to laugh at myself. Even writing this, having decided and lived with my word, I’m waffling a bit.

But here it is: ABIDE.

I want to ABIDE in God’s Word. I want to ABIDE in the Love of God and share it; abide in love and kindness, grace and mercy. I want to ABIDE in the wisdom He has put within me. I want to ABIDE in painting and writing and sharing creativity whenever and wherever I can. Mostly ABIDE, to me, speaks of peace. It says I’ve already made up my mind and set my heart to calmly rest in what I know to be true. It says I can peacefully focus on what is set before me. It also means I can peacefully consider new ideas.

Now I’m going to make signs (sticky notes!!) for myself and put them around the house to remind me to stop and abide in peace.

I have a long way to go toward abiding. But I will abide in the trustworthy grace of God to move me closer and closer throughout the year.

Thanks for reading all this. I know it’s long. I appreciate your sticking with me.

Please, share your word or goal and how you came to choose it! I truly am interested!

Many blessings!

 

End notes:

“Instead of Making Resolutions, Dream”, by Whitney Johnson, Harvard Business Review, 1/1/13, HBR.org

Matt Tommey. http://www.matttommeymentoring.com He is also on Facebook and Instagram. Check him out!!

Definitions from http://www.dictionary.com

 

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Give Yourself a Break- Shed the “Should”! Self-care, week 4

cat photo in black and white

Is your “should” list growing?

I think mine has finally circled the house and is heading down the driveway. sigh…

I hear a sermon or TED talk. I read a blog or book or the Bible and something pricks my mind. How many times have I said, “I should..” or have I been told, “You really should…”? You too? Too many to count, right?

Truly, though, there are things I need to change or want to change about myself or a situation. Yes. We “should” be changing and growing. However, beating myself up about something I “should” do isn’t going to change me.

If I want to make a change, I need to own it.  I need to pray over it and see what God says about it. And I need to realize that small changes will accomplish much more than trying to make a huge leap. Yes, there are times when God steps in and  (hallelujah!) changes everything. Those times are wonderful! We love them and are thankful for them! Those times are also not so commonplace.

If I need to make a change I don’t really want to make, I need to be honest.

I remember a story from decades ago that Charles Simpson told on himself. When he was younger, he loved tobacco. He had smoked and chewed it since he was a kid! He really loved it! He even said he would have eaten it on a sandwich, he loved it so much. When he became a Christian and got older, he knew in his mind that tobacco wasn’t good for him and he needed to give it up. So he tried and tried to quit but kept going back to it. Finally, he told the Lord he really needed help because he really loved his tobacco and just plain didn’t even WANT to give it up! And he relaxed. (Today we’d say he rested in the Lord.) And slowly but surely, over time, Charles lost his desire for tobacco. He was free of it! Moral of the story? Be honest with yourself and God and let Him help you!

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’m finally learning to check my to-do list. Is it full of “shoulds”, is it full of things other people have put on me (but I haven’t agreed to)? I’m not going to feel guilty about saying “no” to things that don’t absolutely NEED to be done right now. I can give myself a break and cross off items that turn out to be a “should”. I can also give myself a break by paying attention to whether I’ve made a step toward a goal too large. Instead of making the goal to shed 10 pounds by next month, I probably need to change it to 5 pounds by next month.

So, here’s the self-care tool for this week… Give yourself a break and shed the “should”! If you want or need to change something, take it to the Lord. Break it into very small do-able steps. And- THIS IS IMPORTANT!- when you goof up, don’t give up! Admit you fell (or jumped!!) off the wagon, forgive yourself (God forgives you) and go back to whatever you were working on. Do not waste time or energy on condemning yourself!

This week pay attention to the “shoulds” in your life. Listen to your self-talk. Is it full of “I should…”? Listen to what others are saying to you too! Is someone telling you “You really should…”? Once you recognize a “should”, make a conscious decision regarding accepting or rejecting it as your own.

 

Did you try last week’s tool for taking better care of yourself? Did you find that drinking more water helped keep you more alert? Did it give you a reason to step away from a toxic situation? Great!!

Here’s one more little thing about drinking more water. It helps flush food through your body more quickly. Eat too much birthday cake at the office party? Drink  2-3 extra glasses of water. Too many chips? Same thing- drink  extra water. You get the idea. It’s not permission to over-indulge, but it is an easy way to help a little when you do!

 

Please share your thoughts about both water and shedding the should. What ways do your give yourself a break?

Thanks so much for reading! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!