Last year I read a blog post - I believe it was my friend Nicole's - right before New Year's about choosing one word for the upcoming year. It could be one that you choose for yourself, or one that you allow God to provide you with, if that's something you believe He is capable of doing. I loved the idea. Especially since I was 4 months deep in the uncertainty of my 9 month stint of unemployment and desperately seeking guidance for what my next steps would be, I figured my year could use all the direction and help it could get.
So one night, after I had just received news that I didn't get a certain job I wanted, I set off (in tears) to the chapel at my church where anyone can go at any time (well until 10pm) to sit inside and pray or journal or do whatever it is you need to do there. I felt so frustrated and lost and confused as to where I was supposed to turn next. So I remembered this exercise and prayed specifically for God to provide me with my word for 2012. I clearly felt like the word I received was "Purpose." It was fitting for a lot of reasons, but mostly I was clinging to the idea that this was the year I would live purposefully. In my job, relationships, blog, dreams, etc. I didn't want just another job. I wanted one that was going to fulfill my calling and bring me closer to the dreams I always dreamed for myself. I wanted to live intentionally and with meaning and not waste time on activities or careers that weren't going to benefit others and glorify God. I wrote that word down and held onto it tight as I left the chapel that night, still feeling slightly helpless, but trusting God would not let me go.
Fast forward through 12 months. Man this year didn't turn out how I thought it would. I don't say that resentfully, but I also will be honest and say I was surprised to see the turns my year took when I felt so clearly at times that I was meant to head in a different direction. I've spent a decent amount of time trying to analyze how the word "Purpose" played out in my year and if I felt I succeeded or failed at living up to its definition. My first instinct is to say that I failed to live with purpose in 2012. Not entirely because of my own choices, but even because of unexpected opportunities or experiences that popped up that weren't in line with what I thought was "God's plan" for me last year.
But in a moment of grace, and upon deeper reflection, I realized that even if I didn't end this year where I thought I would, I honed in on my purpose in life more this year than ever. Through the 6 months of it I spent unemployed, I was given incredible vision and clarity for the type of impact I want to have on this world. I began serving in ministries that would grow to be some of the most important parts of who I am now. And I endured situations that allowed God to mold and soften my heart in a way would change me forever.
I don't ever want the word "Purpose" to stop being part of my story, even if it isn't my word for the following year. I am so thankful I was given that word, and for every chapter of 2012; good, bad, exciting, disappointing, and even unexpected.
This year I asked for my word a couple days early (I was anxious for this year to start ;). In the silence of my bed - probably around 3am knowing my sleep patterns - I heard the word "Trust." My heart jumped a little bit because to be honest, that word scares me. On one hand, the word implies safety and faithfulness and peace, but on the other is uncertainty, letting go, and obedience. I pray that I live open-handed and with abandon this year as I learn how to let go of my agenda and trust in my Creator's instead. Oh how I wish I could sneak peak at the post I'll write a year from now :)
Have you ever tried this? Do you already have a word for this year? If not, I highly encourage you to give it a try. It can be something you want to be true for your year, something you felt has been a reoccurring theme in your life lately, or heck, it can even be a word you let a friend choose for you. But I would love to know if you have one and am wishing all the best for you and your year :)
From my heart,