Word of the Year
It’s a New Year and often with the New Year comes a yearning, even a need, for change. To help ourselves make a change, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. I for one never make New Year’s resolutions, but a New Year certainly encourages me to reflect and think about what I’d like to do differently or what I’d like to see happen. I became aware of a new trend called the “one word” movement last year. If you’ve never heard of this movement, you know that it’s supposed to help you move past a long list of “fix-ups” people tend to make at the start of a New Year. Instead, you choose one word that encompasses your goals and gives you a focus for the days ahead. Turning your focus to just one word will help you get closer to the person you want to become and how you want to live your life. So, if you had to choose one word to live by for 2019, what would it be?
I first heard about choosing “one word” last year and since I was never one to make New Year’s resolutions, I didn’t give it much thought. I read about it and liked the idea, but I didn’t really feel a need for it. But, the idea stayed with me because eventually I changed my mind. If I was being honest with myself, I was struggling as a mom. I felt like I didn’t matter to my kids. I was just a glorified housekeeper and it seemed like I was always reacting to something they did or said. My feelings were hurt and I was tired of feeling angry all the time. When the idea of picking “one word” to help shape your year came back to mind, I figured maybe I needed it to help me in my current struggle. Every parent can use an extra dose of patience and that was the first word that popped into my head, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was too obvious. I perused a couple lists for ideas when I came across the word “choose”. Instantly it spoke to me and my current situation. No matter what was happening in my life, I had the power to choose. I can choose to ignore the arguing. I can choose not to yell. I can choose to walk away. I can choose to be happy or at least “fake it until I make it.” The word “choose” could be applied to so many aspects of life! Choose joy. Choose kind. It was perfect, but personally I needed something more so that my “one word” didn’t become like many forgotten New Year’s resolutions. I like to get creative every now and then so I found an old piece of wood, some acrylic paint and I painted my word on a sign. I displayed it in my house to act as constant reminder that I always have the power to choose.
The thing I like most about choosing “one word” is that there’s no demand for perfection. Did I pick the word “choose” thinking that by the end of 2018 I’d have it perfected? Did I think that by the end of 2018 I would always make the right choices? Absolutely not! If I wanted to, I could pick the word “choose” every single year. It was and is a work in progress and just seeing the word displayed in my home helped my think before I reacted. It served as a reminder that I have a choice in much of what happens from day to day. Moving forward, the word “choose” will always be in the back of my mind and in my heart.
When the New Year began, I began to consider what my word for 2019 should be. I felt like “choose” could use a bit more work but I didn’t want to keep the same word. It was after watching a sermon from my parents’ church online that I found it and technically I guess it’s actually two words. For 2019 I have challenged myself to “be still”. For those who know me well, they know being still is not really part of my vocabulary. I am almost always doing something, whether it’s something to cross off my “to-do” list or something on my list of unwritten to-dos. I often feel guilty or like I’ve wasted my day when I don’t get a lot done. It’s not a bad thing to be productive, but it doesn’t leave a lot of time to just “be still”. And the “be still” I was considering was not sitting and watching TV or reading a book. It was the kind of “be still” where you sit or lay with your eyes closed and let yourself be absolutely still. I felt a need for stillness in my life so I can just “be”. So I can sit and pray or reflect or just let my mind wander wherever it wants to go. It might sound kind of crazy, but I’ve started with setting a timer for myself to “be still”. It’s only five minutes right now, but it’s intentional and for me it’s working. I actually enjoy “being still” and I look forward to seeing how my stillness will evolve and the prayers and reflections that will come to me in my stillness and silence.
If you had to choose just one word to live by for 2019, what would your word be?