The process itself was lovely. It reminded me a bit of journaling, in a way that blogging does not. It was a private, personal thing, and I didn’t even tell Tim I was doing it. I had to think about the year ahead: things I knew were happening, things I hoped would happen, and things I dreamed of. I spend so much of my time thinking about other people and things in that moment, but it was good to have the opportunity to really articulate, if only to myself, what I wanted.
After that, you spend a bit of time whittling down your words. You’re encouraged to take your time over this, and not to get too worked up about it. I prayed over this. I expected my word to be something energetic and focused, as I knew it was likely to be an incredibly busy year – something like “Energy,” “Dynamic,” or even “Motivate.” After a few days, it became clear that my word was something very different: my word for 2015 was “Peace.”
I did keep this word over me throughout the year. When work was incredibly stressful and my confidence was dented, I tried to tune into that sense of peace. When I went through those worrying first twelve weeks of pregnancy, I tried to feel a sense of peace. Even in labour, I experienced a sense of peace.
It’s amazing how many times God’s peace was part of my prayers, and was also prayed over me. Throughout the year, I do feel like I’ve got a sense of what it means to have peace during a time of extreme busyness, if not turmoil. Several years ago, I was mentored by a lovely lady in our church. I often felt a huge sense of peace when I was in her company, and I attributed this to her personality. I now think that peace is something that can be cultivated, and is truly a gift from God.
I’ve recently been through the same process for 2016 – not easy when I have even less time to focus on myself at this time of year. In some ways, 2016 has fewer unknowns than 2015 – I know I’ll be on maternity leave for just over half the year, and will return to work properly in September. We don’t have any big, life-changing events happening. We’ve got a lot to look forward to.
As I’ve been doing the ‘Find Your Word’ process over the last few days, I’ve been drawn to very active, dynamic words – “Strength,” “Purpose” and “Vision” were all possible contenders. But today, I’ve felt sure in my choice for 2016. My word for 2016 is SUCCESS.
I was uneasy at first – ‘success’ puts the pressure on to do well. It reminds me of ‘success criteria’ which we use at school. It made me think about how I would feel if I ‘failed’ at something. I’m guilty of thinking I can do something really well, and then just being mediocre at it (see my attempts at icing birthday cakes for reference). ‘Success’ can mean to stand out, and I am very middle-of-the-road. Also, success is something that is quite measurable in a work context, and for more than half the year, I won’t be working.
But I think ‘success’ is what you make of it. There’s the sense that I don’t want to settle for things being just ok; I want them to be successful. I want to know what successful parenting looks like; I want a successful marriage. I want to create successful, lasting friendships. I want this blog to become more successful. I anticipate that a big part of the learning curve this year will be identifying what success in each situation looks like.
So, with a deep breath, and a hopefully peaceful, optimistic outlook, I look forward to a successful 2016!