A couple of years ago I jumped on the bandwagon of choosing a ‘word for the year’. I know, cheesy, right? I thought so too. But I felt like it was a good way to start a new year – fresh, and with a specific focus. A couple of years ago my word was ‘Simple’. I wanted to slow down, pare down, and really live the small parts of life well. That one word started a pattern of simplifying in our lives that we’re continuing to this day. You’ll often find me purging our storage area, de-cluttering, and looking for just the things we really need and enjoy. It’s quite the process (and continual when you have small children!), but it has been so soul-freeing. I go by the mantra “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (William Morris) It has completely re-shaped how I look at our home and the life we live in it.
Last year, I knew I needed a BIG word. Jude was due just before the new year, and little babies + lack of sleep = HARD for me. So, I prayed and I thought and the word I kept coming to was ‘Trust’. Boy, did that ever prove to ring true. Through feeding issues, sleep deprivation, choking episodes, hormones, trips to the GI and other specialists, food allergies and histamine intolerances, I clung to that word. When I didn’t understand, when I was too tired to think or too angry to care, I KNEW that I could trust. I could doubt and question and yell and cry, because God could handle it. He is good, and is for my ultimate good.
So this year’s word came with some weighty expectations. The past two years’ words were so needed, and I had a feeling that this year’s word was pointing more towards moving forward. I kept coming back to the verse “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) However, I couldn’t settle on one word…I kept coming back to two words.
The Type-A side of my brain was all: “No. You may not have two words. It’s one word. that defeats the whole purpose.” But then, the softer, more flexible side of me that has emerged (re: living with small children) smacked that Type-A person and said: “Shut it. She wants two words, she’ll have two words. She can do what she wants.” I like that side.
Two words it is. GIVE & ENJOY.
As last year progressed and it became quite apparent that our food allergy issues weren’t going anywhere (and in fact getting more complex), I began to resent a lot of my time spent in the kitchen. Many days, we live in the kitchen for more than 50% of our day, so this was a big problem. I realized that the attitude I had was not only affecting me, but if affected how I viewed and treated my family as well.
Rather than continuing to grow bitter, I wanted to GIVE. Purposefully. Beyond what is ‘comfortable’. To give daily to my family, to serve them through caring for their (high) needs. To give of my time to others, to friends, to the organization that I work with, to use my talents constructively where I am. And that’s where the ENJOY part comes in. I don’t want to just give for the sake of giving, but to find joy in the giving. In seeing needs met, in acknowledging where God has gifted me, and in using those gifts right here, right now.
We’re a month in, and while I am being stretched, I’m also enjoying the stretching a bit more. It’s amazing what you can find to enjoy when you’re purposeful in the seeking. I’m looking forward to what the year holds!