It's that time of year again - time to make resolutions. A few years ago, I stopped with the long list of resolutions neatly separated into categories (yes, I really did do that!) that I spent several hours crafting and forgot about after about two days, only to read them over the next year. Instead, after reading about this idea from a friend, I decided to go with a word or a theme for the year - MUCH more doable!
Last year, my word was "intentional." It's something God has worked on with me all year - living life intentionally and not just reacting to circumstances.
This year, things are a little different. This year, I'm on Holley Gerth's God-sized Dream Team. That means, on New Year's Day (since we "meet" on Tuesdays which was interesting since this year, the first Tuesday of 2013 was New Year's Day - yeah, a definite God thing isn't it?), I had to *gulp* come up with a "life statement."
Now, I like the idea of a mission or life statement. I agree with the whole premise of having a focus so you can filter all the various decisions we have to make every day and live intentionally. After all, last year was all about being intentional, wasn't it?
The problem is, though, they make me feel slightly claustrophobic. Too much structure, and I start to feel like the proverbial walls are closing in on me.
I remember years ago, I was trying to do the Fly Lady thing, and I was getting my evening and morning routine down. It was so uncomfortable for me at first to put that much structure into my day. I like to think of this character trait as being free spirited (rather than just scatter-brained and slightly flaky).
Then there is the other thing - I'm rather wordy. I tend to give long explanations, and when I tell a story, I provide lots of details, back story and sometimes, the voices (which drives my husband insane - the voices that is).
So, when I am told to come up with a sentence - just one, mind you - to encompass my life statement, I felt a little panicky. I mean, what if I changed my mind?? What if it was longer than one sentence? Surely, the life statement police would haul me away in handcuffs.
But I did it anyway, and it actually wasn't that hard. Holley Gerth made it like filling in Mad Libs (you can check it out here ) - plus I told myself to think of it as a rough draft. If I didn't like it, I could always tweak it or scrap it all together. A life statement isn't necessarily a life sentence! ;)
So, I took a deep breathe and typed out "I believe God has created and called me to inspire women of all ages to hope, joy and fearlessness through the power of story by writing, teaching and speaking."
That statement may change or morph over time, and that's okay. But it has the main elements. I am a storyteller by nature - that is who God created me to be. I also love to read stories -they inspire me. It's why I want to write, because I hope that I can do for someone else what various authors have done for me.
Hope, joy and fearlessness are things God has been cultivating in me, and without them, I am not free, so I pray that for other women, too. Writing, teaching and speaking - those are the gifts and skills God has given me. When He handed out toolboxes, those were the things that were in mine.
Of course, there was still the matter of my word or my theme for the year. That usually comes more easily to me - maybe because I know I only have to keep it for a year?? But, with all the life statement stuff, I was feeling a bit stumped. I mean how much focus can one woman deal with in a week?
As I was praying about this, though, these verses came to mind in Isaiah 61:1-3, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. To grant to those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
I started to cry when I read those verses. I am not much of a crier, but when God's Spirit moves and speaks to me, I usually find myself in tears. I suppose it is my own unique version of my "Spidey senses tingling." lol
That's when my words for 2013 came to me: Persevere ~ Proclaim ~ Pray. Persevere because I can't quit. God has called me on this journey; He has placed me on a dream team for goodness sake! The thing is though, I am a quitter by nature. If things get hard, it's way too easy for me to throw in the towel or change direction, so this year, I will persevere.
I need to proclaim God's goodness and the daily difference He makes in my life - that's the only way to inspire women to lives of hope, joy and fearlessness.
Finally, I can't do this in my own strength. Let's face it - I'm the world's biggest wimp! If I got lost in the wilderness, I'd probably turn myself in to the nearest bear or cougar and say, "Just eat me now and get it over with!" I NEED prayer because without that close communion with God, I really can't do much of anything on my own.
So, 2013 is the year I persevere, proclaim and pray. I have focus for those goals because of my life statement. I'm excited to see, as Anne Shirley would say, "what's around the bend in the road."
So what's God telling you about 2013? What path is He leading you down?
~ Blessings, Bronte