the year of: authentic.

Awhile back, I was introduced to the concept of a “word of the year”  (or “one word” as some know it) and absolutely loved it. I dislike resolutions and while I enjoy having goals, I hate feeling pressured by myself to achieve several goals. Instead, I thought about how I wanted my life to look for the year ahead and searched for a word that would encompass that vision.

Four years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Three years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Two years ago, my word of 2015 was nourish.
Last year, my word for 2016 was presence.
This year? My word for 2017 will be AUTHENTIC.

To me, AUTHENTIC is

  1. being honest with others.
  2. being honest with myself.
  3. letting go of holding back and letting myself flow.
  4. embracing who God made me, instead of creating an image of self.

I typically hold back my weaknesses, negative thoughts, and stressful events as to not dwell on them. I’d rather focus on the good things. But the problem with that? It appears that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. When I hold back these things, it just builds up inside me. I don’t let it out, I don’t share the struggles, and then, I have mini outbursts or breakdowns at home and feel even worse…. withdrawing and hiding more. Not healthy at all. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Most of us probably do this. Don’t we?

I don’t know how much I will be able to write this year, but I hope that when I do, I am honest about what’s really going on in my life and the emotions I am feeling. I hope I can be open with you about joys and my struggles. There are plenty of joys, and I know how wonderful life is, but I’ve also had dark moments of internal struggles these past couple years. As much as I just want to focus on the positive things, I also don’t want to deceive anyone into thinking that things are better for me than they really are. I have hurts. Doubts. Struggles. Disappointments with self. Stress. And so forth.

And I want to be able to share these things without fear of judgement.

If there’s one thing I noticed, it’s that being open invites others to say “me too!” and connect. We are never alone in our struggles… and this is a reminder we all need. I know I need this right now as I deal with sleepless nights and a tiny one depending on me for everything while I try to manage my own life. It’s exhausting. Honesty draws out honesty.

Above all, not only do I need to acknowledge and shed some light on my struggles, but also release them to God. I do an absolutely terrible job of worrying instead of praying. Even when I pray, I still worry. I worry, stress, worry, stress. It’s awful. I need to let that go.  I need to depend on Him.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

I already expect that this year will have challenges. The last two years have been difficult, so why not this year? We have a new baby, jobs are changing, finances are changing, and there’s a lot we as a family and I as an individual hope to accomplish this year (including some things we weren’t able to accomplish last year). I know my plate will be full. I know I’ll be frazzled. I know I’ll also be excited and happy. And I pray that I let myself feel it all sometime, instead of ignoring the downsides and trying to keep it together.

Time to be real. Let’s go, 2017.

the year of: presence.

IMG_0050

Three years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Two years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Last year, my word of 2015 was nourish.
This year? My word for 2016 will be PRESENCE.

To me, PRESENCE is

  1. the state of being present
  2. the area that is close to someone
  3. something felt or believed to be present (for me, this is God)

PRESENCE. Just be.

My goal is to have no goals. The sounds unambitious and lazy, but for me, it’s a way to recharge, embrace, rest, let go of rules and self-expectations. To enjoy each moment. Eat all the things. Work out if I want to, or not. Of course I will strive to eat well, keep my body moving, work on writing projects, and so forth, — but with no rules or deadlines. If I don’t want to do something, I won’t. Last year was really stressful. This year will bring some stress and concerns, no doubt, but if I don’t set any expectations, then I won’t be disappointed or rushed (this makes sense in my head). I do have things I want to accomplish this year, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

Along with that, I want to be more present in moments. Being available for people. Being there for people. Being active in church and community. Putting my phone down when I’m with others (Have you ever gathered with people only to realize everyone is looking at their phone but yourself? Happens to me all the time.), listening, stop thinking about the past or the future, but enjoy today. Today is all we have.

So, let go of rules and schedules and deadlines and just be there for people.

I’ve also been thinking about one of my favorite bible verses:

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 NLT

Be still. And know that He is God. I know this…. but oftentimes I don’t pause long enough to understand. To be still. To notice. To be in His presence. This is something else I’d like to focus more on this year, too — and all the years going forward.

As for social media? Stepping back from that, too. I won’t be closing any my accounts but I’ve deleted apps off my phone and limited my log-ons (I have a limited phone data plan and no internet at home anyway). I’d like to have a Pinterest/Instagram-free year. I loooove seeing all the photos and posts from my friends on these sites, and I enjoy sharing my own too, but I’m always left feeling unsatisfied. Like I’m not doing well enough. I think we’ve all experienced this, and there are plenty of articles out there about people comparing their worse selves to other’s best. I’m guilty of this too, and need to step away so I can stop comparing. So I  can stop feeling like I need to acquire some item to make it all better. So I can stop feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything. So I  can stop feeling like I’m not good enough. So I can fully embrace all the wonderful people and ‘things’ I do have.

Time to be present.

Do you have a word for 2016? Please share.

IMG_0118 (2)

the year of: nourish.

Two years ago, my word of 2013 was light.

Last year, my word of 2014 was release.

This year? My word for 2015 will be NOURISH.

To me, NOURISH is

  1. sustain; supply with what is necessary for life, health, growth.
  2. cherish, foster, keep alive.
  3. sustain, build up, promote.

If you don’t know this already, I am passionate about good health, positivity, simplicity, connections, and Jesus. Within the last few years, I came to discover these values within myself and took steps to strengthen these values in my life. However, the last few months have left me feeling chaotic inside and less like myself. I need to get back on track — slowly, but strongly.

I need to nourish my body with whole foods and a simple fitness routine. I need to nourish my relationships with good communication, appreciation, and quality time. I need to nourish my mind with books, less television, and creativity. I need to nourish my dreams with positive words, actions, and focus. I need to nourish my faith with devotionals/journaling, leadership, and prayer. I need to nourish my soul. This is the year for that.

Do you have a word for 2015? Please share! 🙂