Monday, January 11, 2016

One Little Word

I might be a little bit behind on the "one little word" trend. Typically I spend an afternoon with Hubs planning goals for the year, but this year that just didn't happen. I kept stressing over it in my head, but with sickness over Christmas and other things to keep up with we just never got a chance to get away and go to a quiet spot to think, reflect, and plan. 

So I decided that this year I would keep things a little simpler.
Instead of creating a laundry list of goals that our family would like to see accomplished, I would choose one word for myself to set a precedent for the year. 

As I began praying about it the word that God kept showing me was "rest". 

I tried (believe me I tried) to find a different word. A popular blogger had already chosen that word and I didn't want to seem like I was mimicking her. Also, rest is hard. That's a hard word to define your year. I think it is hard for me because I am such a do-er. I find a lot of my identity in what I am able to get done or how productive I am able to be.  

But God would not stop putting that word before me each morning. It was the only word that sounded right. The only one I could think of. 

So I surrendered to it and finally wrote it out in my journal. 

2016 will be a year of rest. 

Now, I'm not sure what that looks like. 
But I know it doesn't just mean physical rest. It means spiritual rest as well. 
Resting in God and his sovereignty when I don't understand what is going on. And let me tell you...I have had to put that into practice so much earlier in the year than I anticipated! The ball had hardly dropped in Times Square before life started spinning out of control. 

I am trying to make time for physical rest as well...and being pregnant that is so helpful! My energy has been lacking this entire pregnancy and since I have given myself permission to rest each day, I don't feel as guilty for that afternoon nap. 

"Rest" also means saying "no" to things I might otherwise have said "yes" to. 

Jen Hatmaker really helped me with this post she put on Instagram a week or so ago:

jenhatmakerAs you move into 2016 hoping for a saner schedule that prioritizes your actual life and keeps you focused on the things that matter the most, let me share the decision-making filter my agent Curtis always gives me: "If it's not a HELL YES, then it's a no." So that medium yes, that I-feel-like-should yes, that guilty yes, that coerced yes, that I-actually-hate-this-thing yes, that I-guess-so yes, that who-else-will-do-it yes, that careless yes, that default yes, that resentful yes, that I-probably-shouldn't-but-struggle-with-boundaries yes? 
NO. Nope. 
No thank you. I am unable to commit to that this year. Thank you so much for asking, but any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity. I am so flattered you asked and count on my prayers, but I am at my maximum bandwidth right now. I appreciate your work so much, but I've already committed my time and energy this year. I've loved being a part of this, but I am no longer able to continue. We are aggressively focused on x, y, and z this year, so as a family we've agreed on no new commitments. This is what I can give but won't be able to do more right now. 
Now, the things that make your heart race, your blood pump, the fire in your belly burn, your gifts to leap to life, and keep your family and home healthy and strong...the hell yeses? ALL IN, BABY.

So when people I love have put opportunities before me to serve that take my energy from my family and  that don't make my gifts leap to life...I've said "no". Not always what I want to say because I want to serve, I want to be helpful, I want to love well. But saying "no" isn't unloving.

Holly Gerth puts it this way in her book You're Loved No Matter What" 
"Real friends love your 'no' as much as they love your 'yes'. Mary and Martha received a 'no' when they wanted Jesus to come right away.But that 'no' led to the resurrection of Lazarus--a miracle beyond what they could have imagined when they first asked Jesus to come. I wonder if Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus embraced and wept again when they were reunited. But this time the tears would not have been from sorrow. Instead they would be the kind we shed when we see how God can transform even a painful 'no' into a glorious 'YES".

Her words have deeply encouraged me and strengthened my "no" because it is a purposeful "no". 

"Rest" will be a struggle for this productivity seeker this year. But it will be a good struggle. A sanctifying struggle that I pray teaches me more about myself and my God and allows me to focus on the things that really bring life to my soul rather than all the things I feel like I should be doing that actually drain me. 

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