Each year, instead of forming some New Year’s Resolution (that I will probably disregard within the first two weeks of January), I pick a word. I LOVE words. I love how much meaning that something can carry just by stringing a handful of letters together. Each word I pick carries meaning…it tells me my goals for the year by encompassing the values I would like to brush up on. Once I pick the word, I make a beaded bracelet of it, and I am constantly reminded of the way I want to behave, act, and encounter everything that comes across me throughout my day. I make it my goal to live up to that word. Here are my words:
This word came to mind when I was in the car, driving out of Georgia. My family and I were on our way to Florida, our overnight pit stop before a family cruise. The song “Glow”, by Britt Nicole, was playing on repeat (as I often do with songs that I have newly discovered and found favor with) in my ear buds, and it really sparked some thought. The words say, “Turn the lights down so we can glow, glow, watch us come alive, we’re gonna show you something real like a city on a hill, we’re gonna glow.” & “When this room blacks out, you know we will stand out, we’re gonna glow. They see us coming from miles away; there’s no hiding, no denying, cause we’re not ashamed. With our hands up in the air, boys and girls, they start to stare, it’s a wonder you can feel it.” This song made me want to radiate the glow of Christ. You know how someone who is so happy just has that beautiful glow on their face? I wanted people to see this happy, beautiful, contagious glow of Christ. I wanted to have Jesus illuminate me from the inside out. I had the strong desire to glow, and the word stuck with me y whole trip, I got the idea to make a bracelet of the word, and to use it as my resolution. I know that the idea was God-inspired, and was so excited about it. When I got home, I strung together a strand of blue and green beads, with my word, “Glow”, in the center. I wanted to spend that year becoming a person filled with Christ’s warm glow, and building a love and appreciation for Him, and to reflect it through my actions. This word made me fall deeper in love with God, and recognize what a difference He can make in my every day life. I grew closer to God, and I began showing more love and enthusiasm for Christ. I came out of my shell at school, and got involved with chapel. This was also the year that my friend Jesse and I started up a student-lead group, called “Roots”. Because of the constant reminder on my wrist, I started to express myself spiritually instead of keeping it private. I started breaking out of the timidity and started making myself vulnerable spiritually. The verse I selected to go along with “Glow”, was Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, that they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I didn’t have a specific moment or situation that made me choose the word “Genuine”; it sort of just came to me. I was thinking about who I wanted to become, and what I wanted my life to look like. In a world where we are so caught up with meeting the expectations of society, and putting on a show to make people like us, I just wanted to be real. I wanted to have a sincere heart, and actions that matched. I wanted to do nice things and treat others with kindness, not because it would make me look good, but because it was what my Father was calling me to do. I wanted to WANT to be a loving and sincere person. I wanted to express what I valued, and I wanted to invest in the things that mattered to me. I stopped having fake friendships, even if it meant letting some go, and I started showing my heart more. It was really cool, because one day, I was eating my snack during break in the upper commons, when a younger classmate came up to me. She said that she had just come from class (the class of a teacher who I really admired), and they were talking about how there weren’t a lot of genuine people in the world, but the teacher had used me as an example of a genuine person. I was so happy. I had never told any of them about my bracelets, or my words, but they had said that I was an example of the word I had chosen. I felt God speaking to me so strongly through that experience. Genuine helped me be real, honest, and accept a show who I am and who God is making me. I stopped apologizing for who I wasn’t, and began to fully embrace who I was. I didn’t look for the approval of others anymore. God worked through this word to create a sincere heart. Verse: Psalm 51: 6 “Sincerity and truth are what you require; fill my mind with your wisdom.”
As pathetic as it sounds coming from a girl who goes to a school five minutes away from her home, I will be honest: adjusting to college was a bit difficult, but I remember distinctively when I started to enjoy it. It was when my floor and I decorated for Christmas. I was filled to the brim with this contagious love and joy as I decorated my floor with the girls on 1st Timmer. I realized that God provides so many opportunities for us to smile and experience His genuine joy…we just have to have an open mind, positive attitude, and participate. I picked “Joy”, and I started looking at the way God can bring light to us in all situations. I wanted to use this word to shed light on every situation, creating a positive perspective & looking at the beautiful ways that God shows His light. I also tried to cut back on my complaining. The word helped me remember that I want to be a ray of sunshine; to brighten the days of others, and to allow God to brighten mine. I started looking for the positives rather than the negatives. Since I do love a good session of complaining (one of my worst habits), I asked Evan to help police me on this, and even though I would despise him in the moment for calling me out on it, it was very helpful and beneficial to have someone keep me accountable in this department. This was also the year that I did SpringHill. I found joy even in the most chaotic of situations. I started to notice how God brings us joy….always, like a mother slipping a warm note into her child’s lunchbox. It was cool, because during my evaluation, one of my area directors told me, “You just have so much joy, and I can tell that you genuinely care about your campers.” Both of my words from the past couple years! God really opened my eyes to the goodness of life, and I started spending more time with Him, realizing that through Him, I become joyful. To work on this, I wold get up early and have “tea” with God, eating my breakfast in the dining hall every morning, sipping a cup of warm green tea while doing devotions. It was a great way to get myself in a joyful mindset before starting my day. I learned that spending time with Him fills me and grows my joy. Verse: Psalm 16:11 “You fill me with joy in your presence.”
Well there’s not much to write about this one since it has just begun, but I can play out my thought process for this one! I had been waiting not-so-patiently for my 2014 word to jump out at me. I was praying that God would show me what word should become my focus and resolution fro 2014. Just when I thought that I didn’t have an answer, the word jumped right out at me. After telling my roommate, Macy, that I didn’t know what my word for the year was going to be, I walked to the floor coffee kitchen to make a soothing cup of green tea. As the water bubbled and warmed in the microwave, I turned my chin to the window into the floor, and my jaw dropped. I had my word! Looking up and down the halls, I saw what had been there all along! The whole entire floor was decorated with a flower theme. Flowers were absolutely everywhere, and in my room, I had pictures of flowers and carefully crafted canvases covered in towers! One of the quotes on a canvas I had made came to mind: “Bloom where you’re planted”. I immediately knew that God had been answering my quest for a “word” all along, I just hadn’t been listening. Now how does this fit me, and what are my goals with this word? Bloom is about blossoming in whatever situation or whatever moment I am. It’s about making the very best of every moment I have. As a certified procrastinator, it’s so easy for me to put something off until later. Sometimes I put things off so long, that I lose amazing opportunities for adventure. Bloom is about revealing my petals and allowing the sun to see their color. There are a lot of things that I pass on in order to be comfortable, and Bloom is about confidently looking the world in the eyes and giving my liveliest and my best to every experience provided to me. Sometimes I keep my petals tucked in, because I’m afraid of calling attention to myself, but I don’t want to hide my gifts or my thoughts. What good is the beauty of a flower if it is kept in a closet? Without exposure to the sun, its colorful petals will never be revealed, or even worse, it could wither. I want to fully allow myself to be available to God’s shaping hands, and I want to fully live and experience the wonderful life that He blesses me with every day. I have always been some what of a flower fanatic, and I am beyond excited to string the letters B L O O M onto a string with the brightest and most colorful beads that I can find.
I encourage you to look for your “Word” this year. If you don’t have one that comes to the top of your mind, I promise you that you will be provided with one; you just have to listen! Cheers (with sparkling grape cider, my favorite!) to a very happy 2014.