the year of: faith.

Seven years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Six years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Five years ago, my word of 2015 was nourish.
Four years ago, my word for 2016 was presence.
Three years ago, my word for 2017 was authentic.
Two years ago, my word for 2018 was hygge.

Last year, my word for 2019 was no.

This week, I pondered whether or not I even wanted to do a word for 2020. I’ve not really been paying attention to the words I used the last few years – sometimes doing the opposite of what I had hoped. Then this word showed up in several places and I decided to keep a word for 2020. This might be my last ‘word of the year.’ And it is a word that I want to keep for the rest of my life.

This word?

Faith.

The last few years have not felt as joyful as years prior. The last few years have felt more bitterness, stress, doubt, exhaustion, chaos, discontent, anger, and disappointment than years prior. They have been good years. Nothing terrible has happened to me. I’m healthy and well. But my soul is restless and drained.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

I need to have more faith in God.  In everything that happens in my life.

For me, FAITH is:

  1. putting God first.
  2. trusting God with everything.
  3. not worrying because God has a plan that is greater than mine.
  4. knowing that there will be hard times. we are not promised a happy life on Earth.
  5. staying away from things that aren’t beneficial to my growth (whether this be certain foods, social media, movies, whatever).
  6. peace.

Here’s to having more faith this year…..

in this storm.

After having four interviews at four different schools, I received my fourth rejection email last night. Immediately upon opening it and seeing the words, “our school has selected two other candidates for our available positions,” I hit a brick wall. Rejection, confusion, and discouragement swam around in the air. Tears leaked out of my eyes. My husband tried to kiss me but I pushed him away, wanting nothing. Nothing my own sadness and feelings of defeat. Fingers shaking and eyes blurred, I stumbled around the kitchen to finish cooking the spaghetti. We ate dinner with minimal conversation, my husband trying to lift me up with his words. Although I appreciated it, I just didn’t want to hear it. I suppose I wanted to believe that I really wasn’t good enough to be hired as a teacher. A soft blanket and a favorite movie was all I wanted. We watched Benny and Joon underneath a fleece blanket that reeked from being in the closet too long. I went to bed in a slightly better mood but still couldn’t shake the tears once the lights turned off.
Six o’ clock woke me up with gray skies, harsh winds, lightning, and the rain swirling around in circles on the rooftops across from my window. I slowly went through my morning routine, wondering what today was going to bring. Today wasn’t a day I dreaded, actually, but a day where I wanted to see what was next. Where to go from here? Will I get another phone call? Will any school want me?

I drove to work in the rain. The music played as it always did. Then a song came on that I’d never heard before. I glanced at my phone to see what it was called. “Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns. At the stoplight, I looked up the lyrics. Oh how so appropriate for what I was feeling that day, along with the rain. Just perfect. It was what I needed to hear to remind me that God has a plan. I need to count on him. He will bring me where He needs me to be.

Sabbath Sundays.

One thing I’d like to start doing this year is implementing a Sabbath day in my week. Since I work Monday through Fridays and usually run errands on Saturdays, Sunday is the perfect day for my personal Sabbath (and when my husband doesn’t work on some Sundays, this is a great time for us to relax together). Last week Sunday was New Year’s Day, and the perfect Sabbath kick-off. We slept in late, spent a lot of time talking about the future, did a little bit of cleaning, lounged around on the couch, and went out for dinner and a movie. I don’t advocate cleaning or going out much on Sabbath days, but it was personally a good start for us and every moment was full of joy. It was a day that we truly needed.

Actually, my entire first week of January was incredibly relaxing. Work wasn’t terribly hectic and every evening was free for me to unwind. I can’t remember the last time I had a week with no evening commitments. What a glorious thing to have sometimes. I am cherishing every moment while I can, because I know not every week will be like this. I’m also looking forward to using some of those evenings to reconnect with my friends.

Today was absolutely lovely. I slept in a little bit, worked out with my husband, enjoyed a simple breakfast with him, hung out with my cats, washed my clothes, continued reading a couple books, drank tea, texted some friends, cooked a light lunch using leftovers, listened to music, and wrote this post. I know I will go to work tomorrow feeling refreshed!

I highly recommend you carve out some time for a Sabbath if you haven’t already. Your week probably seems busy with work, school, appointments, kids, errands, driving around, and other commitments. Then you have to cook/eat, clean, find time to sleep, maintain relationships, and overall just never get a chance to rest! Resting is just as important as being productiveWithout rest, your body works and works until it burns out. With rest, your body is recharged and ready to dive back into your busy schedule! Find one day you can keep to yourself. If a whole day just isn’t feasible, carve out a few hours in an afternoon and slowly increase the time.

What To Do On A Sabbath

  • Read a book.
  • Write.
  • Listen to music.
  • Play a board game.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Play outside.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Take photographs.
  • Create something.
  • Make love.
  • Spend time with your family.
  • Pray. Meditate. Spent time in quiet.

What NOT To Do On A Sabbath

  • Anything work-related. No emails. No phone calls. No thoughts.
  • Cleaning. Create time to clean the day before.
  • Laundry. Make sure everything has been done earlier.
  • Working on the house or in the garden (unless that’s your hobby).
  • Shopping. Do your shopping earlier in the week.
  • Finances. No paying bills, balancing checkbooks, nothing.

What to Limit On A Sabbath

  • Time on the Internet and within social media.
  • Your phone. Putting it away or turning it off is best.
  • Cooking. You obviously have to eat, but try to prepare meals ahead of time if you can, or make this the night you throw a frozen pizza in the oven.
  • Cleaning. Cleaning a recent spilled mess is fine, but try to avoid whipping out the vacuuming or giving your bathroom a complete scrub-down. Have dirty dishes? Put them in the dishwasher or clean them right away. If you’re not cooking on Sabbath, you shouldn’t have too many dishes to clean anyway.
  • Workouts. Sometimes your Sabbath seems like the best day for you to work out, but your body really needs to rest. Try not to make it a habit of working out on your Sabbath day. Some relaxing yoga might be OK.

Of course, no Sabbath has to be perfect, and we all have different things we enjoy doing, so create your Sabbath to make it the day you want it to be. What could you add to the list above? If you already have a Sabbath day, how do you spend it?