The past few years I was inspired to choose a word or focus for the year. Have you ever done that? Last year, God took me on a journey of learning to be present in His presence. I was also inspired by Shauna Niequist to “live freer, softer and braver”. This was my prayer countless times throughout the year.
This year my word is “abide”. I want to learn to live with intention, grace and courage. I chose these words, or more accurately these words chose me, after a painful, yet eye-opening moment. I had forgotten how messy freefalls are. Wouldn’t it be nice if waking up a little deeper were just clean and pretty?
What I learned brought me into this year slightly bruised from sliding into home plate, but exhilarated from the run. (You’re welcome baseball fans. And yes, I know it’s not baseball season.) Being present in God’s presence looks a lot like resting, waiting, listening and being still. Things I’m naturally quite terrible at doing. I thought abiding would look the same. I was wrong. I think abiding – remaining connected and living deeply – looks much more like stepping out in faith. Thanks to Andrew Murray’s beautiful little book, I’ve learned that God is even more invested in me abiding in Him than I am. After all, he abides in me as well. Crazy wonderful, yes?
A year of being present (or doing my best) has prepped me for a season of stepping out with intention, living with grace and listening with courage. Let’s call this “Game Day”, but in the quietest of ways. There probably won’t be much shouting or face paint or butt slaps (well, maybe a little bit). There will be a sense of purpose and poise in stepping out. I will step out onto the field of writing bravely and daring to pursue my dreams, and I will step onto the court of leading with grace and loving deeply. I’ll say yes to things that matter instead of staying paralyzed with fear and waiting so long for the right moment that it passes me right by.
So here are fifteen things I’ve learned on the fifteenth day of 2015 (because I’m sure you were dying to know):
1. Bossypants by Tina Fey is a worthwhile read – don’t take yourself or the book too seriously, but don’t be surprised when you learn something.
2. Moving in with your sister and brother-in-law and bonus roommate is surprisingly awesome, but don’t make a fire in the fireplace and close the vent too soon. I’m now sporting a musty scent today at work. It’s not my favorite.
3. Eating clean makes you feel good inside and out. It takes planning and budgeting, but it’s worth it and the buddy system helps.
4. Make new friends and grow old friendships. (I’m not saying I’m old). Community is priceless and takes work. Build community and be committed to it. It’s a beautiful thing.
5. Support other people’s dreams. I love giving my brother books by comedians so he knows he is seen, loved and supported in dreaming big.
6. Chase moments of whimsy and grace. They go hand in hand more often than you think (or so I think. Bob Goff does too).
7. You are never too old for Disneyland, Harry Potter, the zoo and dance parties in the living room. Enough said.
8. Networking is really about friendship and wanting the best for others. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by great examples of this.
9. Sometimes you feel lonely. Know that it’s okay. Just sit with it for a moment or two. Maybe cry and hug a dog. Then get up and shake it off just like said dog. (Psychologists say this works).
10. I’m convinced family is God’s greatest gift. Friends that are family are just as wonderful. Someday I’ll take them all to Disneyland.
11. Embrace moments of “Carpe Diem”. Remember those who have gone before whose shoulders we stand on and then look around for those who have grown weary and need someone to lift their arms for them until the battle is won.
12. Learning what kind of eggs you like is liberating. (In case you were wondering, I like them scrambled with lots of veggies cooked with curry, salt, pepper and a dash of cardamom).
13. Be mentored. My mentor embodies intention, grace and courage. I have learned so much from her of the kind of life I want to live – find someone like that in your life.
14. Read a lot. Read your favorites, read recommendations, and read something totally outside your norm.
15. Say yes, say no and let things go. (Brilliant, I know). I’m learning to say yes to what matters and to what takes me deeper, say no to what adds clutter and chaos, and know when it’s time to let something go.
So there you have it. Fifteen things that you didn’t ask for, but you got them anyway. If you’re one of my tens of readers who made it through to fifteen, let’s be friends. Chances are if you read this, you already are. So here’s to a season of intention, grace and courage.
Wishing you a brave week friends!