Back in January, when my eyes were still bleary from sleepless nights with my newborn, I chose a word for the year. It felt ambitious to pick one at all, frankly. I felt infinitely grateful for the new life in front of me, but also insanely tired and even taking out the trash felt like too much.
And so the word that came to me, after prayer and waiting, was this: small.
Now here I am, five months into 2017, and small feels like God’s grace to me in this season. I’ve learned much about myself recently. I’ve learned how hard it can be to respect my own boundaries; how even when I say I’ll give myself permission to do less, I still struggle under the weight of my own expectations. I’ve learned how humbling it is for me to admit how weak I truly am. Not because I’m incapable, but because some seasons require us to admit our frailty so we can grow stronger.
And so this word continues to feel like a gift to me because I am most naturally a big picture person. I often get caught up in the enormity of a dream or a hope and it can either wash me away or cause me to feel tremendous pressure. This journey toward accepting that I am finite and small is a good one because it feels like a continual grounding of my soul. It serves to root me in truth and reality and in the process I remember, again, that while God made me capable and gifted in some things, I am also limited; I need him and others deeply.
Often times in therapy or with any change, it seems it follows a framework. Generally, it goes like this:
First, the acceptance of reality as it stands.
Second, gaining resources to support a person in the change.
Third, utilizing the resources so a person can integrate their new way of being into reality and allow their brain to continue to re-wire.
And finally, repeat the steps again and again as we work toward change.
Any of these steps can take days, months, years, or even decades. And so while it seems simple, it’s not. I bring this up though, because in my own process of honoring the word small, I see myself beginning to utilize the resources in my life to actually love my smallness.
Instead of being angry I can’t do more, it’s beginning to feel a bit like a launching pad so I can focus on the details that are important, but I frequently pass over in my haste to accomplish what feels big. I’ve been trying different methods to help myself stay with the small and some of them have been fantastically helpful while others have been an utter failure (Yay, Sacred Ordinary Days planner, boo to post it notes everywhere!) The piece that feels like success however, is being willing to try it differently; to keep moving toward growth.
So today, I’m focusing on practicing what I preach--attempting to set about a short list that needs accomplishing; doing humble but important work in the midst of my ordinary life; focusing on the next right thing.
I’d love to hear from you. Did you pick a word for 2017? How’s it going so far?