05 1 / 2011
One Little Word: Embrace
I try to resist making New Years Resolutions, because I don’t like to set myself up for failure. I’ve made them over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever kept one. Last year, I thought I was shooting low enough and also choosing something that is important for my current age & stage in life. I got some good Mary Kay skincare products for Christmas, and my resolution was just to use them on a regular basis! Moisturising morning and night with the special cream. That doesn’t sound so hard! But I failed. Miserably.
This year, I’m going to try something different. Ali Edwards promotes a concept that she calls “One Little Word.” The idea is that you choose one word to be your theme word for the year that captures your feeling about where you are right now in life and what you would like to accomplish or focus on for the next year. So, to sum up: goal setting for me is not such an easy thing to do. One word? I think I can manage that!
In thinking about what my word would be, I reflected on where we are in life right now, as well as all the changes that we have coming this year. In the next 12 months, we will travel to doctoral interviews, make a decision about where we’re moving, I’ll decide whether I’m goign to get a new job or do a doc program, we’ll quit our jobs, move across the country from everyone and everything we’ve ever known, and start building relationships and work/school in a totally new place. That’s a heck of a lot of change. What I don’t want is to just let this change happen. I neither want to just drag along and let it carry me, or to fight kicking and screaming. I want to embrace it. And there’s my one little word. Embrace. I like embrace, because it implies more than acceptance, drifting over into the realm of welcoming.
There are several definitions for embrace, and when I looked them up, they further confirmed my choice of the word. (I’m listing them in order that they make sense as my word, not in the order the dictionary puts them in.)
- To take up willingly or eagerly. Eager acceptance. This was my initial utilization of the word when I chose it for my word. I want to take up the changes that we are coming up to willingly and eagerly, excited about the new experiences we will find in 2011, and taking advantage of whatever opportunities we are able to pursue. This stands true regardless of whether where we end up matches what I think I want. (As if I even know what that is!!)
- An act of holding close with the arms, usually as an expression of affection; a hug. This meaning is especially poignant to me. Part of moving is leaving behind the wonderful friends and family members who live in Oklahoma and Texas, at least for a season. One of my goals is to continue to embrace them (figuratively), even from thousands of miles away, nurturing my current relationships even as new ones are built.
- To include as part of something broader. This meaning was unexpected for me, but really struck a chord. I want our decisions about where to go and what to do, and my decision on whether to continue my education, to be a part of something broader—God’s overarching plan for our lives. I don’t believe that God has one solitary path that we have to try hard to stay on, like a balance beam, for fear that he won’t use us if we drift even an inch from that ordained life course. Instead, I think that God, through his word and his Son, gave us specific guidelines for living our lives. Barring a specific revelation or intervention, I believe that if we stay in those guidelines, and give Him all the glory and honor, He can use us in just about any situation. All that to say—whatever decisions we make, where ever we go, I want it to be glorifying to God and evidence of his presence and provision in our lives.
So there’s my outlook for 2011—not a resolution, but a word. Embrace.