Are you all familiar with the “one word” exercise?
This is where you spend time praying quietly and asking God to give you a focus for the coming year. You condense the sentiment down to one word (which makes it focused and memorable) and then come back to that word often, allowing it to guide your decisions throughout the year in a general sort of way.
This is my first year to designate a word. I’m excited!
I spent several days thinking and praying about this. Over time a concept began to take shape in my heart. However, finding a word to fit that concept was a bit more tricky. I finally settled on be.
You see, I tend to have a lot of nervous energy. I can be pretty wound up with plans and ambitions and personal standards or goals (just ask my husband). I have a lot of ideas, and I get satisfaction from making them a reality and a success.
But what’s the value in those successes? All our striving in this world is pretty empty, if you think about it. Our worldly pursuits fill the time, but their gain is temporary, not eternal, and it’s often not worth the devotion we give it.
My two-year-old knocks at his bedroom door. I go to open it for him, and as I do, he bounds out, having already donned his cowboy hat and as cute as he can be in his favorite, mismatched pajamas. He rushes past me, ignoring my open arms, off on some important errand. After he’s settled with “Thomas the Train” and a bowl of cereal, I return.
So I’ve been thinking, what was I created to do? In this season, what does it mean to fully embrace my life? —To live it, experience it, and soak it up completely?
Certainly ambition and striving are a part of this grand and glorious drama of creation. God is glorified through these activities because this is a small piece of creation doing its thing. When we enjoy beauty, work hard, delight in healthy relationships, create –all this is from God. It reflects His very nature.
Now my 8-month-old begins to cry, announcing her emergence into our day. I enter her room to find her stuck on her belly, with pink feety-pajama-clad feet furiously thumping against the crib mattress, giving their little bear faces a beating in an expression of her passionate discontent in that moment.
Later, as she nurses, she holds her pudgy little hand up to my mouth to be kissed. As I dress her for the day, she coos and babbles and waves at me, now in a definite good mood. I settle her in with some toys and resume…
But me, in this season? I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a homemaker. And I want to fully be those things.
–to be content with less striving
–to live this season to its uttermost.
–to enjoy the full scope of the precious life God has blessed me with.
–to let it be simple.
–to just be.
We are, after all, human beings, not human doings. How easily I forget that ultimate truth!
“Thomas the Train” is over. I glance over the computer monitor to see my two-year-old pretend-mopping the floors while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and casting proud looks my way to make sure I’m seeing him. The baby is busily babbling and turning toys over in her hands.
Life is full and good. I want to be content with just what it is. I don’t wish this season away, despite the tiredness and high needs of my little gang.
So, while I have ideas for two books and a podcast, all of which are exciting to me, these ambitions will be put on hold in the year 2016.
Instead I’m going to delight in unhurried afternoon teas with my oldest daughter, reading books and constructing elaborate train tracks with my 2-year-old son, and plenty of snuggles and peek-a-boo games with my baby girl. I’m going to take time to sit in front of cozy fires with my husband, enjoying long conversations and even (gasp) watching movies together.
Because hyper-productivity is not what matters most to me. And it’s not eternal.
I’m going to dwell with God throughout the day and take time regularly to sit in His presence. To be still and know that He is God. Be.
I’m going to invest my energy in experiencing, and excelling in, this lovely (sometimes difficult) life in which I find myself. I’m going to run my home well and give my attention to my little family.
I’m living the hard and good parts of this season to their fullest.
Because this is my year to be, and to be fully. To live this life God has given me, and to glorify Him in that living.
What would it mean for you to focus on being in 2016? Have you asked God for a word for the year?
**I do intend to keep blogging, and I will be releasing an eCourse that is already pretty much done. But beyond those things, my family and home are going to be a heavy focus in my life.