It’s a New Day

There’s always a lot of pressure on a new year. So many expectations that, with the turn of the calendar, everything will magically be better. We’ll no longer crave sugar. We’ll never be weak in the knees (and the wallet) at Target. We’ll live more adventures, laugh at more moments, love more people.

We’re 10 days into the new year now, friends. Some of us are going strong, owning our resolutions like a boss.

And some of us fell flat three days in.

Although I don’t do resolutions, I do enter the year with an anticipation that I’m going to get my stuff together. I love fresh starts and new beginnings. A new year feels the same as a new school year to me. I get new school supplies and lay out my clothes. I organize all the things and, armed with giddy enthusiasm, I march into January with all the hope that This. Is. My. Year.

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A Year Ago

Just over a year ago I was returning from a three-week vacation. It sounds wonderful. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, the catalyst to take three weeks was less than wonderful. I was on empty – once again.

In 2006, I struggled with depression brought on by excessive work, nearly non-existent boundaries, lack of rest, and relationships that depleted my soul.

How crazy to sum up that very difficult, long, and painful journey into a single sentence. Yet, I celebrate the summation because it is a testimony to the deserts that feel like death valley when you’re walking them but on the other side look more like a rocky beach leading to a life-giving ocean we would have missed had we not gone on the walk.

A year ago, 10 years after my first journey, I found myself at the entrance to death valley again, having ignored all the warning signs along the way. But things looked regrettably familiar to me and before I drifted too far into the valley, I reached out for help. Those three weeks granted me the space to find my way back to the ocean again.

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My Word for 2018

A few years ago, I decided to forego the annual resolution gig. Not that I was always good about making resolutions, nor keeping them. Resolutions tend to make me focus on behavioral changes which doesn’t always last and often results in guilt rather than growth. Honestly, if I made it to February with a resolution intact, I would celebrate that as a win.

Five years ago, I stumbled upon some folks who had sworn off resolutions and, instead, were beginning each new year with a theme word – a word they would aspire to; a word they would grow toward rather than a behavior they would run away from.

I liked the idea. A lot.

2014 was my first year with a theme word and it made all the difference. Choosing one word gave me a focus that no resolution every had. It gave me a clarity about decision-making. It gave me a plumb line by which I measured growth and movement.  It pushed me forward without weighing me down with guilt. And it created space throughout the year to be surprised by God with opportunities to lean into that word.

After a lot of thought and prayer, my word for 2018 is awake.  

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