Picking one little word for the year is a tricky thing, a personal thing, for me, a prayerful thing.
I often begin reflecting on how the current word of the year has been meaningful in late November or early December. I think back to the different ways the word impacted my hopes, thoughts, reactions, and plans throughout the year. How it has guided and directed me, reminded me of grace and brought me peace.
By mid-December, I find myself thinking about the year ahead. Thinking about my hopes and dreams, setting goals and milestones. Throughout it all, there is prayer, conversations with God about His hopes, desires, plans for the year ahead. Requests for that one little word that will guide and direct, bring grace and peace.
Friends, today we have our first Outrageously Wonderful guest post of the year. Meredith Simonds writes at Plenty Woman, a website for women ready to believe we are everything anxiety says we’re not. We met at the BlogHer conference this summer and I immediately knew I had met a forever friend. Meredith writes honestly about her struggles with anxiety and shares beautiful affirmations and meditations that are an encouragement to your soul. You won’t want to miss a word of today’s post about simple resolutions.
I like to start my New Year’s resolutions in December. Sometimes July, as that’s my birthday month when I’m feeling particularly motivated to convince myself I’m getting better with age.
Starting on resolutions early like this gives me a chance to do a trial run. It’s nice to know you hate doing something before you commit to doing it on January 1.
I also like my New Year’s resolutions to be forgiving. I want to do these things every single day, but if I only do them half the time, it still makes a world of difference.
Three out of the four resolutions on this list are ones that stuck for me this past year, so I can vouch for their simplicity. The fourth is a resolution I’m working toward, but one I believe can be equally user-friendly.
I’m not a resolution girl, but I do love the idea of setting a one-word resolution for the year. For me, setting a word of the year really helps me focus and set my priorities for the year. It’s like making a promise to yourself or giving yourself a gift.
As I set my word of the year for 2016, I felt certain it would be the year of joy. From my dad’s motorcycle accident last January and 40+ day stay in the hospital to losing my grandmother and ending the year with pneumonia, 2016 was so not the word of the year. The word that I settled on, nourish, was the perfect word for the year.
Every time I felt like I was off track, I came back to my word and identified something in my life that needed to be nourished. It was a constant reminder to take care of the people and things in my life that are important to me. I absolutely loved having that as my word.
So when sitting down to think about a word for 2017, there were high expectations. I spent most of the week before Christmas in bed recovering from pneumonia, so I had plenty of time to think about what this year’s word should be. I had a general idea, but nothing seemed quite right. And then the whirl of Christmas and family and celebrations began and then – poof – it was 2017.
Have you ever looked at a huge, messy situation in front of you and thought, “I just can’t”? Perhaps the thought of walking through whatever that thing is — financial strain, relationship issues, a health crisis — is simply too much to bear.
There must be another way, a way around this hot mess of a situation, you think. You close your eyes for just a moment and offer up this simple prayer, “Please, let there be another way. Please move this struggle from my path.”
But then you open your eyes and finances are still uncertain, the relationship is still tricky and the health crisis hasn’t budged.
So then what?
There are two choices – the path around or the path through.
This site is supposed to be a safe place where we can bear our hearts to each other, lift each other up, comfort and encourage one another. And as the Chief Cheerleader, it’s my job to create that space. It’s my job to start the healing with confessions of my own, with honesty, vulnerability and brokenness. It’s my job to talk about hard things and share how I find joy and hope in any situation.
And I’ve been silent.
I’ve been silent because I simply didn’t have the words. The news of the world had just become too much. I was left stunned and broken and completely mute.
Until last night.