What My One Word Taught Me This Year
My One Word adventure for 2016 has been a maze-like journey. Lots of winding and weaving my way through a year full of surprises! The treasure at the end: a host of cherished lessons that have changed my life for the better.
This year reminds me of a birthday party activity my mom rigged up when we were kids. She had a knack for finding clever ways to make birthdays and holidays special. She a treasure hunt by stringing yards and yards of yarn from one end of the house to the other that ultimately lead to a treasure. There wasn’t just one treasure – there was a different color of yarn for each party guest with their own treasure at the end. It was quite a web of fun!
When I picture me, and the many others who participate in the One Word concept, our collective journey looks like my house did before the string adventure. A wild web of string!
If my party guests and I had not carefully followed our strings to the end and allowed it to be our guide, there would have been no treasure! And without my One Word guiding me this year, I would have missed out on an invaluable experience!
You never know what a year will bring! I wasn’t confused about the fact that this year would include some things, like a fabulous trip to the Bahamas to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, getting HBDI certified, and my son marrying the woman of his dreams. What I had no way of knowing is that our amazing trip to the Bahamas would lead to several months of being mysteriously sick, a sickness that was eventually diagnosed as Lyme Disease.
Each year I prayerfully select my One Word. You can learn more about that process here. My One Word and tagline for 2016: Receive – Even what seems less than desirable at first may be a gift.
When I chose my One Word, I had no inkling how it would apply to my life! In my mind, I was anticipating new coaching clients or a hoard of new customers to my publishing business. Or maybe God had some other exciting something in mind for me to receive.
It never crossed my mind that battling Lyme would be the gift – after all, battling Lyme is no easy task! Lyme has many symptoms and is tricky to treat. It leaves you exhausted in a ways I’ve never previously experienced that made it impossible to do even simple tasks! For weeks and weeks I got two hours of sleep and continue to enjoy painfully tingling feet. How is that something to receive?
And what was I thinking when I came up with the tag line “Even what seems less than desirable at first may be a gift?” That turned out to be prophetic! I might want to think twice before settling on my next tagline!
Yet, in spite of the wild journey, I truly do see this past year as a gift. While I am not anxious to live it all over again, I am ever so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from my One Word.
Here’s what my word “receive” taught me to:
1. Accept help
I am naturally a very independent gal, yet my independence can send a very loud message to the people around me that I don‘t need them when I really do. And when I do it all myself, others don’t have the opportunity to shine and use their gifts to bless me, not to mention how I wear myself out attempting to do it all.
I know that without Lyme seriously limiting what I was able to do and my One Word: receive, I would never have taken steps to delegate and accept help. I would have missed out on experiencing how wonderful it is to not have to do it all.
So this year I learned to gladly let my husband help with the chores around the house and even do a little cooking, along with a lot of picking up take out. And for the first time ever (and it won’t be the last) to delegate dishes at Thanksgiving just in case I wasn’t up to it (Lyme is very unpredictable!).
2. Appreciate what’s really important
When life as usual comes to a screeching halt, you are forced to figure out what’s really important. It doesn’t take long for your priorities to get shaken up like Yahtzee dice and be tossed out in a whole new way! While relationships have always been one of my top five values, the people in my life took on whole new level of importance to me and material stuff became a whole lot less important. I learned to view life with an eye towards the eternal. Little things like sunshine on my face, a moment with someone I treasure, or a quiet moment to just reflect on my many blessings – those things took on new meaning!
3. Slow down and savor life
Being a driven person seems to go hand in hand with being independent. While I have been working hard to alter my level of busyness even prior to this past year, focusing on receive taught me that slowing down and savoring life is a gift from God that is brimming with benefits if I am willing to receive that gift.
I am now multitasking less, taking more breaks, and enjoying the fruit of a slower paced life!
4. See the bright side
I confess that looking at the positive side of whatever comes my way has not always been my first inclination. I am quite good at seeing the negative, the problems, and coming up with solutions. In the thick of my Lyme battle, something changed. I was able to see more clearly what God was up to and the very personal ways He was demonstrating His love to me. Focusing on receiving what He had for me and trusting that in His lovingkindness He had my best in mind changed my perspective for the better.
5. Reconnect with my purpose
It isn’t that I had not previously embraced my purpose, I had. However, I connected with my purpose in a fresh way. Rather than working harder and viewing more Facebook likes, newsletter subscribers, or coaching clients as evidence that I am dutifully walking in my purpose, I am being an obedient steward and allowing God the space to work on my behalf. I am actively looking for and receiving the opportunities God is bringing my way to use my strengths, skills, and experiences to make a difference in the lives of others without striving.
6. Depend on God more
I just don’t know how people navigate tricky years like this past year without God! The journey through 2016 has made me realize once again just how blessed I am to be able to lean on God and seek His help when life is hard and to receive His help when He hears my cries.
Each year my One Word adventure becomes more meaningful. This past year has topped them all. While I still have a ways to go to fully recover from Lyme, I have come so very far! And the lessons I’ve learned I want to linger and continue to make me more of the woman, the wife, the mother, the coach, the writer, the friend, etc. that He created me to be!
What’s your One Word adventure been like?