Last year, encouraged by my sister-in-law, I chose One Word for the year. I prayed and read and meditated and listened to God’s Spirit and my own soul and chose a word of prayer and hope and guidance for 2016.
I don’t think I told anyone what my One Word was for 2016. I didn’t really need to tell anyone. It was a word for myself alone. Freedom. As the days and weeks went by, it was encouraging to see how God was prying open my soul, layer by layer, freeing me from fear and guilt and hurt. Freeing me to hope and live and love. Freeing me to rest in His mercy and protection.
Sometimes, when we are locked into roles or traditions or beliefs or relationships or institutions or habits that are not best for us, God has to break open those things in order to free us. And the breaking open is painful. Unpleasant. Awful. But the breaking open allows the light in, the life in. It allows room for growth. For breathing in and breathing out – filling up and spilling out. Freedom is worth the painful breaking.
One thing I have realized – some people do not like it when you speak outside their script for you or step outside the box they have neatly placed you in. As I spoke up about hard things or important things in 2016, I was chastised by people who disagreed with me, by people who preferred I stick to being light and funny and fluffy. Non-threatening. I’m still trying to figure out why people think they can tell a grown-up woman what to say or not say, what subjects to talk about or not talk about. And I don’t know. But I see it often on the Internet. And I have determined not to play along any more, not to stay on-script or in the box.
As I cautiously stepped out and made decisions toward freedom, I learned that sometimes other people choose to feel threatened by our decisions. Their responses are not about us; their responses are about them and their feelings of insecurity and fear.
The cost of freedom is sometimes a tighter circle of people. But the people in the tight circle are loyal and true. They love unconditionally. And I would rather have a small, tight circle of people I can be authentic with than a large sphere of people who want me to fit into their image of me. And sometimes freedom brings new people, new opportunities, new chances to grow.
As I faced 2017, I listed words and phrases and goals. I prayed and waited for my One Word to become obvious. Finally, it was clear – in order for all the words to apply, in order to meet all the goals, I need Courage.
So this year I am praying for Courage. That in my expanding freedom I will find courage. Courage to rise. Courage to take risks. Courage to create. Courage to be present. Courage to sift. Courage to feel. Courage to dream.
What is your One Word? #oneword365