Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My #oneword365

I've been intentionally quiet on the blog lately.

I needed some space to process my feelings about the election, which deeply impacted my faith and my spirit. I needed to step back and see what God was whispering to do next. So I buried myself in work, reading, church, cooking, family, and holiday preparations. It helped. Kinda.

But I keep coming around to the reality that no matter who is in a position of power in government, I can still make a difference right where I am. And life is big in the little. I read that phrase from Alexandra Kuykendall's most recent book Loving my Actual Life, which my women's study group did together this fall. And it's really stuck with me. A phrase like that has the power to induce stress over the the weight and importance of every small interaction with my kids, friends, or family. But instead of feeling stressed I feel empowered that my actions add up to make a difference.

As is my tradition, I began reflecting on what my #oneword365 would be for 2017 (previous years here, here, and here). Because so much of my life and work feel uncontrollable and uncertain right now, I wanted to focus on what I could control, simply and right where I am. So my word for 2017 quickly became clear: REACH.

I want to reach in several ways this year: toward people I don't understand, toward greater understanding of concepts I don't understand, and toward those I love the most. Through my work at Faith in Place and United Methodist Women I get to meet a lot of people, some of whom I understand and some of whom I do not. So it is my intent to reach toward better listening this year, especially to those that I disagree with. To reach my thinking, I'm making a list of books I want to read and discussion groups (online and in-person) that I want to join. And perhaps most important, I want to reach out to the ones I love: my husband, my kids, my family and friends near and far, and better nurture our relationships.

I'm not exactly sure how this will all work, but I'm attempting to break free of the dangerous thinking that keeping the same habits from year to year will yield different results. To me, the word REACH means looking for growing edges and trying to make that growth happen, even when it's hard.

What's your one word for 2017?

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