I did not think I would do a "word of the year" for 2018, because nothing was really coming to me. In general, 2017 was not a very introspective year. I can't tell if that is just maturity, and not being as emotional, or if it's just falling out of the habit. Maybe a combination of both.
But as I reflect on 2017, I'm suddenly finding it easier to reflect on some deeper issues. Having 2 weeks with both sets of our families helps ;)
2017 was good, really good. Colorado felt like home, especially as we developed friendships and felt more comfortable in our jobs. I grew in grace for myself and officially took myself out of the running for being a runner (that's a reference to one of my favorite Snapchat stories turned blogpost from Jess Connolly in 2015). I continued to grow in self-acceptance. We traveled to some cool places and I got to spend more time with family than I expected.
I dealt with a lot of personal questioning specifically about faith and marriage, which I'm sure we will continue to work through in the next years (maybe our whole lives). I felt us starting to change, and grew afraid that this would mean we would grow apart. I compared myself to people around me, and worried that we got married too young. These are irrational fears, because we are still very much in love (kind of obsessed with each other, actually), but for some reason I started worrying over these hypothetical ideas.
What snaps me out of this fear of the future is remembering a conversation about marriage with a girlfriend this summer. She shared that a mantra she repeats over and over again to herself each day, in all her small decisions. She tells herself, "I am going to choose Andrew." She gave a few examples, and they were all simple things, but that small line is something I have adopted.
Recently, I've been noticing that we are always moving toward or away something. I'm rarely black and white in my thinking, but for some reason I'm seeing growth this way. I'm either growing closer with Jake, or away from him. It might be slow and subtle, but those baby steps are moving me in one direction or another, whether I notice it in the moment or not.
So in 2018, I want to be intentional to move in my own small ways forward, toward the things I want to grow into.
So my word for 2018 is "PRACTICE."
To me, practice is obtainable when perfection is not. (and perfect is a bully, right??) I often get frustrated with myself for not BEING the things I want to be. Kind, gracious, patient, loving, peaceful.... It only took 2 days around my family this Christmas for me to become snappy, impatient, cranky. And once that action comes out, I immediately wallow in self-agony of how immature I am. I guess in this area, I can be tempted to be black and white in my thinking as well. It's like in my mind, you're either a nice person, or you are not. You're either gracious, or you're not.
But the word/idea of "practice" is accessible. It does not draw a line in the sand, but outlines a path in the right direction. It doesn't focus on the finish line, because there is always room for further improvement. Which means I can't beat myself up for not having "accomplished" something like kindness, but instead I can celebrate progress in my journey.
I can practice kindness when I feel like being sarcastic, and sure it might not make me a kind person right away, but it will move me in that direction. It will get me one step closer.
So I'm excited to grow forward, and hopefully see slight progress in 2018. Something I learned when working in ministry, is that it takes a LONG time for people to change. So I'm embracing that for myself and choosing to stay hopeful that with practice, I can keep growing.
Cheers to 2018. I'd love to hear your words for this year! Share them with me on your favorite platform :)