At some point in December as the year's end approaches, I begin to think about the life lessons I've gained, and about what it is I hope to accomplish in the year ahead. (Yes, I know--me and about a gazillion other people!) And while I sometimes make concrete resolutions for the upcoming year, what I really love to do is come up with one word summing up the way I want to approach my life, sort of like a...character goal of sorts.
Last year my word was purpose. I set out to live 2011 according to my purpose. I wanted my hobbies, activities, relationships and pastimes to all reflect my purpose in being here. 2011 was the year of using the gifts I've been given to refine my purpose and be intentional about my comings and goings, rather than giving away my precious time to empty less fulfilling pursuits. It was a year of ups and downs, to say the least. I experienced great moments of joy throughout our homeschool days and participation in various groups. It was the year I began living a life of "eucharisteo,"; a life of intentional gratitude. It was also a year of great loss and heartache, as I conceived and lost my sweet unborn child at 14 weeks. The physical and emotional recovery of that experience helped refine and strengthen my sense of purpose as I leaned hard on family, friends and faith, trusting in His plan. To say I learned a lot doesn't even begin to cover it. I'm so thankful for all of the life lessons of 2011. My year of purpose also pushed me become more brave. Through life experiences, changes and transitions, I found myself stepping further out on the proverbial limb, taking more risks and trusting more.
And so now, as we begin 2012, my word for the new year is courage. I've always struggled with courage in the past, letting fears of the unknown hold me back. Afraid to take chances, haunted by the shadow of old insecurities, I've tended to play it safe, not wanting to put myself out there too much, afraid of getting hurt. But I feel the Lord leading me to be more courageous, to tell my stories that are hard to tell, to share the things I've learned along my winding way.
I grew up always hiding, always trying to fit in and be "normal." But as I've grown into adulthood and in my faith I've come to learn that being normal is...well, pretty boring, actually! It's a lot of work and really, not much fun. I came across this great quote somewhere (I don't remember where, unfortunately!) that said: "Please always continue to be your weird wonderful self." And that's precisely what 2012, the year of courage, is all about for me--being my "weird wonderful self."
So, 2012, the year of courage, the year of taking risks, will be an adventure. I don't know what lies ahead, but whatever comes my way, I plan to embrace it, be fully present, and be courageous.
What is your word for 2012?