New Year, New Word

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With the New Year upon us, resolutions and goals are everywhere. Not one for setting lofty expectations, I tend to shy away from the typical goal-setting. Instead I view the coming year as a clean slate, which I admittedly love. Who couldn’t use a point in time to start over in many ways?  It feels so cleansing to look ahead to the blank page that is 2016.

This year will include a new tradition that I began last year at the prompting of a close girlfriend. She encouraged me to ask God for a word to help guide me in the coming year.

One word seemed a bit, I don’t know, minimal, if you will. How was it possible for one small word to summarize God’s direction in my life for an entire year?

I decided to give it a shot anyway. I set aside some quiet time for prayer and, to my surprise, received my word almost instantly: BELIEVE.

At first I had no idea what this word “believe” could possibly mean for me. Over the next few months, however, it became clear. There was so much I had yet to work through. God showed me the positive and strong aspects of my personality I had pushed aside over the years. I had such little confidence in myself and my dreams. This self-doubt poured into other areas and relationships in my life as well. God was asking me to bring back the qualities I had lost along the way in order to believe in myself and others again.

I was also struggling with negative thinking in my day-to-day life – especially with my kids. If something didn’t go my way (which is quite often with small children), I would quickly go down the slippery slope of self-pity. This, in turn, led to much grumbling, complaining, yelling, and an all-around miserable mom. I hadn’t realized how much my bad attitude trickled down to my little ones. I was the one making things much harder than necessary.

After receiving my word, I wrote down all that I wanted so desperately to “believe” in:

I wanted to believe in people’s best intentions. Believe in myself and my dreams and my passions. Believe this life is a beautiful blanket of memories and moments woven together over time.

Believe that lifelong goals will someday become a reality or seeds will at least be planted.

Believe in answered prayers. Believe in the most desirable outcomes.

I wanted to believe God is working on my behalf to answer my prayers. Trusting that He has it all under control makes me feel more confident in the end result instead of worrying about all of the other possibilities.

I wanted to believe my kids aren’t trying to grate at my nerves, but really need me and are curiously exploring the world. I wanted to believe I’m the best mother for my children. To believe in my husband and his practice.

Throughout the year, I kept a grateful journal and wrote down the blessings I’ve been given, big and small. It’s really hard to feel sorry for myself when my heart is full of gratitude. Life is truly a gift and I don’t want to waste any more time “believing” it is anything less.

I’m in awe of how God speaks with such beautiful simplicity. I’m so grateful He changed my heart, my mind, and my life this past year. I have altered my thought process entirely, and today, I’m a happier, more optimistic person. Of course my days are not without challenges, but I’m able to keep a positive mindset more often than not.

I believe in myself and my capabilities, even though that familiar feeling of doubt still creeps in from time to time. I’m more present with my family and find myself enjoying each stage instead of wishing for the next one in hopes it will be easier.

One year later, I’m sitting in joyful expectation of what’s to come and wondering how God will speak next.

2016, I’m more than ready for you.

What will your word be?

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