Welcome to the middle of January Week #2! I don’t feel too overwhelmed by that fact this year. The newness of 2014 still hasn’t rubbed off for me, so I’m enjoying the freshness of the new year all around. (It might help that I’m not bogged down by the utter insanity of the polar vortex that those in America are enduring right now!)
If you haven’t yet nailed down any resolutions, goals, themes, or your one word for 2014 – or even if you don’t plan on doing so any time soon – don’t worry. I believe it’s so important to put time into coming up with something so significant. Granted, I’m not really one for resolutions because I prefer beginning the new year with some wide, overarching goals that allow room for flexibility in how I will achieve those goals. Resolutions are a bit too narrow for me to work with. So this year I’m going with one word and then fitting some wide goals beneath that umbrella.
But first, a review of 2013! I’ve never before participated in One Word 365, so last year I was still on my “wide, overarching goals” kick. I actually only had one, and I viewed it more as the theme of my 2013. It was: “Go where God goes.” Now, I do believe that God is everywhere, so I didn’t quite mean to take this theme literally. Instead, it had to do with my desire to discern where God was moving me and to go with Him to that place (to be obedient). Looking back at the ideas I created to fit under this thematic umbrella, I realize that I didn’t follow them to a tee: I wasn’t able to keep up my “healthy body” routine when I moved to Thailand; I honestly don’t remember the last place I volunteered (but it had to have been in the States sometime before June); and some days – or months – I considered the Holy Spirit’s direction more thoughtfully than others.
Big Things happened in 2013. Lots of Big Things, both ups and downs. I saw my best friend for the first time in six months (she’d moved to Moldova and come back to America for a wintery visit). I received rejection letter after rejection letter from graduate schools and found my way to something that made my heart sing even more: applying to teach in Thailand for one year. I squeezed all that I could out of my friendships and my college town before I graduated. I graduated from college. I moved to Thailand, I started my first full-time job (as an ESL teacher), I moved into my first and very own apartment, and a hedgehog became my pet. I traveled a lot. I changed jobs, and I moved into a townhouse. I celebrated the holidays abroad. I adopted two kittens.
I knew that my move to Thailand would mark my time in the wilderness. I knew it without any shadow of a doubt. Zilch. I was aware of it, I wrapped my mind around it, but I had no idea what to expect. I’m not sure I could have expected it to mean all that it did, and, in fact, I’m still sorting through it all because I’m still living it. Every emotion in the book, uncertainty, fogginess and lack of clarity, loneliness, and big ol’ re-dos when it comes to working on matters of my personhood. Yep, that chapter has definitely not closed yet.
When I look back on 2013, I think of “wilderness” more than I think of anything else. But I remember my 2013 theme too – Go where God goes – and I start to feel guilty because I’m still in the foggy and unclear state of mind that the wilderness hands you. And then I remember that even if my entrance into the wilderness was the one thing I knew I was supposed to do in all 365 days last year, I did it. I’m in it. I’m here. I followed God this far. He’s been faithful before, and He’s not going anywhere (thank. God. literally.). So, with all the hesitant courage it takes for me to muster, I’ll say right “out loud” here on this blog that I’ll keep seeking Him out this year. Where He wants me to go. What He wants me to do next.
Which brings me to my vision casting for 2014. This year I’ve chosen to participate in One Word 365. I’ve chosen the word “brave.” “Brave” has been part of my heart-song for at least one year now, along with “fierce.” I’m not totally sure why, but I have a few ideas. Anyway, before I’d even sat down to really think deeply about the past year and this one now, I saw the word “brave” sure and strong in my mental image of 2014. I have to be honest: I don’t really know what that’s going to look like as far as specifics go. My second semester in Thailand will come to a close in March, and I’ll be left with a decision to make: stay here or move elsewhere. It feels like every day I lean a different direction. All that I know right now is that any decision I make will require bravery because this time in the wilderness, this time living in a world so foreign to what I’m used to will not drop off like a discarded coat when I move on to the next country. It will stay with me in some part, and I will never be the same as I was before. So no matter what decision I make, I will need to be brave.
Over the weekend, I did spend quite some time vision casting my wide, overarching goals for 2014, but I believe I’ll keep them to myself for now and then share them along the way as the months progress. Keep ’em integrated in my life on this blog :). Anyway, thank you for sticking with me along this journey I’m on! I so love having you here. And again, Happy New Year!
What are your thoughts about resolutions, goals, themes, One Word, etc.? Have you made any for 2014, or do you plan on making any? I’d love to hear about them!
PS. Here’s one more incredible article I read about building good habits in the new year. It’s by Business Insider, and it’s called “‘Identity-Based Goals’ are the Only Way to Make Good Habits Last.” Seriously, one of the best articles I’ve ever read about goal-making. And, in case you’re interested, my beloved She Reads Truth has started a new devotional plan called Fresh Start. Feel free to join in! Here‘s a link to the introductory post which is full of just as much goodness as the devotions themselves.