My 2019 Word of the Year
At the end of every year I take time to pray, mediate, and journal about the last twelve months and about the year ahead. I always fill out some sort of New Years worksheet to help guide me. In the past, I’ve either used my own, or one created by The Well Studio. I’ve done this since 2014 and have kept all of my old worksheets. Yesterday I spent some time reflecting on the last five years. It was so encouraging to visually see how I’ve grown, where my priorities have changed, and how God continues to show up with each passing year.
Throughout 2018 I could sense God challenging me to quit some things. Back in July, I journaled about being overwhelmed with too many commitments, and not knowing where I should be spending my time. I made a list of all the things I’m involved in, and all of the roles I play. I then prayed over what needed to be crossed off of my list. None of these things were bad, in fact they are all things I love and want, but I began to recognize that sometimes I need to say “no” in order to make more room for the things I truly feel called to. One of the bigger things on that list was my photography business, and in September I took a black pen and crossed it off. I know deep down that I’m meant to do photography, but for now that means only doing it for my own enjoyment.
This Fall I declined seven photography projects. (The only one I took on was for my friend Kirsten, which was purely for fun and for charity.) Saying no each time was hard, but I knew it was necessary. Nearing the end of 2018, after four months of dropping all photography projects, I still felt a nudge to change something else.
After a lot of reflection, I realized my entire adult life I’ve learned how to balance work and play really well… but I’ve never understood how to balance work, play and rest. To me, rest only became a part of the equation after I had successfully burnt out on work and play. Rest has never been a part of my routine or rhythm of life. I’ve always been one of those people that constantly needs to be doing something and busying myself (aka, numbing myself). The more I grow spiritually, the more I notice these unhealthy patterns in my life, and notice how truly tired I am. My soul, now more than ever, needs regular, quiet, restful time with God. I’ve been pretty disciplined throughout 2018 by starting my mornings with reading, journaling, and prayer… but I’m finding that it’s still not enough.
This led me to choose “rest” as my 2019 word for the year. Along with that, one of my biggest goals is to discover what it looks like for me to honor the sabbath.
The sabbath looks different for everyone, and I want to be careful to not set too many rules around what I can and cannot do. The sabbath is meant to be a gift, not a burden. So I think my biggest filter when doing anything on Sundays is going to be asking myself “does this feed my soul?” For me, this means Sundays will be filled with church, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends. I will do my best to stay unplugged, and I won’t be working, running errands, or doing chores.
I’m really looking forward to, what I hope will be, a restful 2019. I know it won’t be perfect, and I know I’ll still manage to screw it up from time to time. But I made sure to set any other 2019 goals around this vision, including more intentional (phone-free) date nights with Shay, reading through all four gospels, and going on a solo solitude retreat. I’m doing my best to hold all of this with open hands and let God lead me. I stumbled across Psalm 131 (MSG) the other day, and I pray that at the end of 2019 I can read this and feel that it’s honestly true for me.
God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content.
Did you set a word for the year? If so, what is it and why? And if you have any tips on how to practice regular rhythms of rest, drop me a comment below!