In a recent post I bagged on New Years resolutions a little bit; or rather, just admitted that I stink at keeping them. Instead I've hopped on the fairly recent bandwagon of choosing a one-word theme to focus on throughout the year.
I was pretty sure someone had written a blog post dedicated to choosing One Word so I Googled it, and it turns out there's an entire website/book/online community dedicated to helping people choose and live out their One Word. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but if it floats your boat, click on the link above and CHANGE YOUR LIFE WITH ONE WORD (no pressure).
So I've been hearing about the One Word thing for a few years now, and I'm not sure that I've chosen a word before this year. I mean, a year is a long time, and keeping to anything throughout the entire year is kind of daunting to me.
But one time a friend of mine told me about her word. We have some similar, um, non-strengths, and that particular year she'd chosen the word "Now" to remind her to take advantage of her time and gifts whenever she could, rather than putting things off until later and crowding her life and schedule. I really liked that because it was pretty low-key--it didn't require any great shifts in routine or anything--but at the same time I could see how all those little "nows" could really add up and make a difference.
I actually swiped that as a thing in my own life, and I have found it to be helpful, particularly in the everyday, mundane stuff I'd rather not ever do, but has to be done just the same, OR the tasks I know I hate but sometimes (not all the time, but sometimes) I need to suck it up and stop being a baby about them. It's got to be done, and if I can do it now, well, it will be done (Sometimes my profundity amazes me (/s)).
Anyway, my friend Emily posted about choosing a word here, and encouraged her readers to post what they might consider for their One Word 2014. And somehow, rather than my normal scoffing and rationalization why choosing one word was almost as dumb as resolutions, and some other such cynical nonsense, I rather quickly came up with the word ACT.
Now at first I wondered if Act meshed well with my overall theme in life to learn to Relax, but the more I thought about it the more I realized they actually go pretty well together for me.
You see, the whole idea behind Relax is facing my fears and anxieties, not letting them define me. The goal isn't to never be nervous; rather, the goal is to realize one thing that is true about me (I am a nervous-type) and work from there.
One of the things about being a nervous introvert who moves a lot is that I tend to sit back in new situations. At group gatherings I like to observe and get a feel for things and people before injecting my personal brand of crazy into the mix. In general this works fine, but it does take me a while to form relationships and such, and then when it's time to move I find myself going "Why did I not do/meet/share/invite/risk such-and-such sooner??"
But as I was thinking about our Alabama assignment, understanding that it's only for one year, I realized that around the time I normally start feeling comfortable and settled, we will be getting ready to move again, heading on to our next assignment. So naturally I started to think about what it would look like to challenge myself just a little bit. Like when we get into our new house, instead of collapsing into a shell-shocked pile of goo for a week or two (or four), what if I can somehow manage to jump in full-force (or maybe even 60% of full-force) to get our house situated that much sooner?
Or what if I summon up the courage to somehow be more fully me as I get to know people, rather than holding back for a time, as I often find myself doing? It sounds simplistic, but one of the things I've been learning this time around is that old truth about just being yourself, and those who like you will like you, and those who don't like you maybe aren't meant to be your friends anyway, so why not figure it out earlier rather than later. What if I take that risk to Act, and then Relax and trust God with the results?
Honestly, it sounds exhausting. I'm not sure how well I'll pull it off, but ever since I mentioned it on Emily's post it has really stuck with me, so I think it's worth a shot. Also, I'm big into not necessarily aiming for a specific outcome. I'm not sure if that's healthy or not, but in many cases I find it helps me to keep perspective better and stick with the goal, rather than trying to manufacture some sort of rainbow-and-unicorn storybook ending. My job is to Act, and see what happens. Maybe nothing, and that's OK. But maybe not.
How about you? Did you do some resolutions? Or one word? Or did you stick it to the man and do nothing for the New Year?