I resisted my one word this year. We’ve lived in this house now for 13 years and I will always remember the New Year’s Eve when we sat in the living room, while there was a ping pong tournament happening downstairs. My mother-in-law asked us what ONE WORD we wanted to focus on for the next year. Not a resolution. Not a list of goals. Just one word.
The candles were flickering and the Christmas tree sparkled and I knew then, like I knew truth in my bones, that my word was “Light.” Not just as in the opposite of darkness, but as in not heavy. I had been chasing down dreams and carrying burdens that weren’t mine to carry. I knew I was supposed to lean into Jesus’ reminder that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
So, that became my practice, year after year. Choosing one word.
Some were memorable. Some rocked my world. Some shook me in my boots.
In 2011, it was Roar.
In 2012, it was Soar.
In 2013, it was Exponential.
In 2014, it was Anointing.
In 2015, it was Gather.
In 2016, it was Write.
These words have been like golden threads throughout my year. When I would be distracted by the next sparkly idea, my One Word helped keep me grounded. It’s even become a movement.
I’d lost a bit of my sizzle this year. My word was “write” and I still don’t have a book to show. No book contract to celebrate. No publication date to announce. I’ve had to make peace with the idea that this book is yet another long pregnancy. SheLoves was a long pregnancy. My first book is too, it seems.
I was ready to get out the markers and make plans and shift direction. There must be something wrong with how I go about life and creativity, I said to myself. I need to be more of a Myers-Briggs “J.” The voice in my head was accusing me and waving a sharp finger at me. It hissed: Why don’t you do a better job of writing that book now, Idelette?
And then, on Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law called us into her room for our annual girls’ tradition. It’s a moment of gathering the girls together. She gives us a small gift—a scarf, a pair of PJ pants, a necklace, a pair of sparkly earrings. Always something meaningful. This year, she gave us a word. We got to pick a scarf and wrapped inside the scarf was a small green ceramic pear with a word etched into it.
I opened up mine and it read, “Serendipity.”
What does the word mean to you, Gwen asked.
O, great, I thought. Just when I think I should pull up my socks and become more of a Type A person, more left-brained, make more plans, this little word pops up.
I realized I had been fighting hard against the voice in my head.
I held “serendipity” in my hands and I let it speak to me, albeit reluctantly.
Go with the flow, it said. Listen to the Spirit. Live fully surrendered to the Divine.
This is how I live! I said, a little exasperated.
I had wanted something different. I had expected God to swoop in and tell me, Now it’s time to make some plans and follow through, Idelette.
But that was not the message.
Instead, I felt a gentle affirmation. A gentle light flickering, saying, Be who you are. Be exactly who you are. I’ve created you this way. Don’t give up on being you.
Keep surrendering. Keep expecting surprises around the corner. Keep going with My flow.
The next morning, I opened gifts from my husband when I pulled out a beautiful frame. It had a Pablo Picasso quote in it that read: “Everything you can imagine is real.”
The tears started streaming down my face.
It said to me: Be who you are. Keep dreaming, Idelette. Keep imagining a different world. Don’t give up.
Don’t give up on being you.
In the afternoon, our niece gave me a beautiful word in golden scripted letters for my desk. It said, Dream.
One. Two. Three. Gentle, but profound affirmations.
Serendipity. Imagine. Dream.
Be who you are.
Ok, Lord, I am listening. I am listening. I am not giving up on who You have created me to be.
I won’t give up on being me.
Being me, with all my faults and shortcomings feels deeply humbling. It requires full surrender. It’s always an adventure.
That also sealed my One Word for the year. My word for 2017 is FLOW.
There is a River of Life … I know I am meant to feed the River this year. I am meant to go with this River and flow right along with the Spirit of God.
I want to keep going with my God’s flow. So, for 2017, I am jumping in and I am committing to feed the River. I want to be part of more Life on our earth, more Life-giving water and goodness. I can only do that fully immersed, fully surrendered to my God.
Deep breaths. Let’s do this.
My dear SheLovelys, what is your One Word for 2017?