Finally 2016 has arrived. Apparently I was very eager for the new year as I kept writing 2016 on things in December. I have written in the past about my lack of goal writing at the beginning of a new year. I am a reformed Type A, so I have an on-going list of goals and to-do’s, but I have adopted the practice of choosing a word of the year.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I enjoy reading blogs and listening to podcasts. And, a few years ago, a favorite author of mine introduced the idea of choosing a word at the beginning of each year to guide the goals and decisions of the year.
Embarrassingly I had forgotten my “word” from two years ago, but my friend Megan remembered it for me. “Steady” was my word for 2014. I knew we were facing ChinaBean’s third open-heart surgery and I wanted to roll with the stresses of that and the other challenges that come with living overseas.
Last year I settled on “rest”. I was staying up too late, racing around Suzhou, working, volunteering and trying to soak up what was supposed to be our last 6 months in China. I knew that I would have to be intentional and protective of my time. I don’t know that I came out of 2015 more rested, but I was certainly more aware of what I felt like when I had margin in our schedule and the implications of me not being rested. Our surprising move to Xi’an has changed our schedule drastically and increased the “margin” in our schedule greatly. Coincidence, I think not.
I seriously considered the word “sleep” for 2016, but a wise friend suggested that linking my word to scripture might be beneficial. Hmmm, “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” Instead, I have chosen the word “peace.” It still allows me to build off of last year’s word by reinforcing that when I am rested, I am certainly more peaceful!
Life, whether overseas or in your home country, isn’t always peaceful. But when those tough times come, I want to choose peace rather than always being reactive to a stressful or intense situation. Like jello, I will absorb whatever life throws at me. Right?!
It seems that 2016 might have several chances for me to practice my word. We returned to Xi’an after Christmas holiday with an un-repaired apartment. Tiles ripped up, dust everywhere, furniture in random places…peace. Jamie returned to the US for a week after only being in Xi’an for barely 7 days…peace. Jet lag with three kids in a hotel…peace. Peace, peace, peace. Let’s hope that I don’t have too many opportunities to practice.
“Seek peace & pursue it” ~ Psalm 34:14