A “Word of the Year” is intended to be a kind guide that walks along side of us during the year, not a harsh master that dictates a set of “to-do’s” (God knows we don’t need any more of those voices in our heads). It’s a friend that accompanies us during our journey. (The Dolly Mama)
When I was a young girl, I had the New Year’s resolution every year of reading through the Bible. On January 1, I would read 40 chapters of the book of Genesis and then by January 8, I would be on Genesis chapter 43. I’ve made that same resolution about 20 more times at points in my life and guess what, I have never read through the whole Bible no matter what I’ve tried. It’s been the same for me with exercise plans, diets, organizational goals, etc. You know what I mean. You feel the same pain. The bottom line: resolutions rarely, if ever, work.
On the flip side, I’m all about HOPE. I love a fresh start. A new day. A new week. A new month. And especially a NEW YEAR. Hope is what “rocks my socks.” And God knows this about us. That’s why we have fresh starts every morning, even every moment. I don’t know what I would do without the place where I can begin again, take a first step toward change, growth and healing, and then come to that same redemptive position again and again. HOPE.
Hope, my first Word of the Year (hereafter known as WOTY) in 2015, is the main reason why I opted to throw away all New Year’s resolutions and choose a WOTY. I need hope. Hope is an inner, gracious guide that allows room for us to change and grow. Resolutions are harsh external masters that heap shame on us when we “fail” to keep them. Here’s why:
A resolution concentrates on “DOING.” A WOTY values “BEING.”
A resolution instructs. A WOTY inspires.
A resolution is mandatory (“work out three days a week”). A WOTY allows for room to go at your own pace (taking the next baby step).
A resolution is limited in possibility (“lose 10 pounds”). A WOTY is expansive and limitless.
A resolution can be “broken.” A WOTY cannot (it is a gentle friend).
I am so thankful that my husband stumbled upon the idea. It has been life-changing as we approach the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
If you’ve never done this, it’s a lot of fun. While you hopefully have some “time off” from your regular duties (unless you are a mom, of course), today or tomorrow might be a good day to spend the time. Or any time in the next couple of weeks. I know people who spend an hour (me) and some who spend a weekend (Allen). (Click HERE to understand why that’s the case.) It’s not a race. It doesn’t matter when. But it might matter if. It might seem overwhelming. It’s not. It’s just fun. Give yourself the treat.
Concentrate on who you want to BE(come) this year, not what you want to get done.
Cup your ear to your hopes and dreams. Be mindful not to listen to your doubts and fears.
Be true to yourself. You want your word to represent your unique needs and desires.
Remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect. This isn’t traditional goal-setting. This is grace-filled friendship-making. There is plenty of room to change your mind.
It’s intended to be a kind guide that walks along side of you during the year, not a harsh master that dictates a set of “to-do’s” (God knows we don’t need any more of those voices in our heads…I call that “shoulding” all over yourself). It’s a friend that accompanies you during your journey.
Ask yourself a simple question: What do you need? Many times, we concentrate on improving ourselves instead of being kind to ourselves. This is a huge starting place. Don’t skip this step. Write down all the random things that come to your mind.
The next question can be (after you haven’t skipped the first one) who do you want to be(come)? Write down a few of the most important things that jump into your head.
Make a list of words that come to mind. Write as many as you want. It can be a noun, verb or adjective. If you need help, click on this printable alphabetical list I put together for you for some ideas. (Word of the Year Ideas)
Cross out the words that don’t work for you. Narrow your list down to at the most 10 words.
Check out the definition of each of the words, its origin, synonyms and antonyms. You might just be surprised at what you find out!
Give yourself some time to process the list. Allow yourself to “try each one on for size.”
Take a deep breath and choose your word. Take a few minutes to write your thoughts about how you hope it might play out in different areas of your life and relationships.
Write your word down on something and post it on your mirror, your car, your computer, wherever you will see it every day. You can even buy a customizable bracelet by clicking HERE(I don’t get anything from this. Just thought it was a cool idea.) I found a picture and put it as the background of my computer (it will feel weird to change it out). Look at it each morning and remind yourself about this friend who is with you today.
Give yourself permission to change your mind. If you want to, take the time to reflect and re-evaluate your word at any point in the year.
An Update From Yours Truly:
My WOTY for 2019 was “Shalom.” I don’t want to give up this friend. I love her. She’s been a kind, yet forceful voice in my life, the best of the best. I have a long way to go in my friendship with “Shalom.” She means “the presence of true human flourishing in all areas” and I want that for a lifetime, not just one year.
The good news is that just because I make a new friend does not mean I have to give up my old one. “Shalom” can come along with me into 2020 and who knows, maybe my new word will stand hand-in-hand with her. When I think about all my WOTYs since I’ve started, it makes for one wonderful Dolly Mama posse (HOPE, BECOME, DEPTH, TEND and SHALOM). That makes me super happy.
Now, that I’ve welcomed them all, I would like to invite another new friend into my life for 2020: my Word of the Year is HYGGE!
Hygge is one of those words (it’s a Danish word) that encompasses an idea that’s hard to translate, because it means so much more than any one thing. In essence, it’s the “feeling of coziness and well-being.” I even bought a little book about it that I’ve been reading the last month or so.
Here is what it encompasses:
Connection to Nature
You can find out more by checking out this article HERE.
We even bought a house this past year that is the definition of a Hygge Home. It’s a house with huge windows with a big wood-burning stove and surrounded by the most beautiful gardens and woods that I’ve ever seen.
We want it to be a place where both we and others find comfort, companionship, simplicity, connection to both Creator and His creation, where we are able to just “be” instead of “do.” Ultimately, a place of healing for our truest selves. A house filled with hygge. We hope many of you can join us for real and in person here! It would be our greatest joy to share a little space of hygge with you!
Back to You:
Consider joining me on this journey to find out what word can come along side you and be your gentle and kind friend throughout this new year that we are embarking on. When you do, please please send me a note letting me know what your word is. I love to remind you every so often throughout the year about your new-found friend.
Happy New Year from my heart to yours!
**ALSO PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR AND GO BACK AND LIKE THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA**
It is our great and sacred privilege to come along side you, engaged and newly-wed couples, to share on the journey of your marriages. These past fifteen years, sitting at our dining room table, on our deck, at Paneras, diners, church lobbies, and even in online video conference rooms, has blessed our lives and our own marriage in ways we never thought possible. Friday night, our culmination final barbecue of the very first young-marrieds support group called our hearts to life and joy and beauty and blessing once again. This morning, we meet with another couple on the verge of marriage to go over plans to perform our very first wedding. It just doesn’t get any better than this for us.
When we were engaged, God gave us a short verse from the Psalms that has guided us and held us in ways we did not understand at the time and that would be a great blessing to us (plus we use it as some of our passwords for things – SSSHHH – don’t tell).
Today, we want to bestow a blessing on each one of you (and your precious partnership). Some of you have been married over 10 years at this point and others of you are just beginning your adventure. We love each and every one of you and even those we haven’t met yet. Our hearts are WITH you and FOR you!
Our Blessing For You Young Marrieds (#oldmarriedstoo)
May you be strong and courageous. May you not afraid or discouraged, knowing that the Lord your God will go with you wherever you go.
May your love abound more and more, with all knowledge and discernment so that you approve what is excellent.
May the Lord surround you with favor as with a shield. May He be your stronghold in times of trouble.
May your talk with each other be wholesome, only what is helpful for building each other up.
May love and faithfulness never leave you. May they be written on the tablet of your hearts.
May the favor of God rest on you and may He establish the work of your hands.
May you be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, as you remember how God, in Christ, forgave you.
May you walk with humility and gentleness with each other, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit.
May God give you the desires of your hearts and make all your plans succeed.
May you walk in integrity.
May the Lord instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; may God counsel you and watch over you.
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other.
May the Lord keep you from all harm and watch over your life.
May there be peace within your walls.
May God be gracious to you and bless you and make His face shine upon you.
May you have the power together to know how high and wide and long and deep God’s love is for you.
May the Lord preserve your going out and your coming in now and forever.
Lastly, we share our own marriage verse with you, praying that this would be the cry of your hearts and the gentle guide for your life together.
Oh magnify the Lord with me, Let us exalt His name together! (Psalm 34:3)
And that’s when I heard it, “Hold space for them.”
“Hold space for them? What does that mean?” I asked God.
I sat there in my car in the parking lot of the addiction rehab I taught at and knew God was calling me to embark on a journey with these women. As I hung up the phone, I was caught by a sweep of His presence, as I felt the answer to my question settle in my spirit…Just show up every week and be there for them. Be present to their pain.
It’s been almost a year since I heard those words, “Hold space.” I’ve learned to stay present without a response. Without turning away from the pain of others. Loving without saying a word, giving each other space to feel. I’ve learned “holding space” is a beautiful way to sit with them in their pain. It’s finding the depth of love necessary to allow them to feel without judgment, without rushing in to clean it up or fix it. It’s standing beside one another offering hope without saying a word.
A few months ago, the Holy Spirit sweetly asked, “Yeah, but do you know how to hold space for yourself?”
Hold space for me? There’s no time for that.
I’m learning what this means. In a season of five active kids, a dad fighting for his life, and a husband with a demanding job I’m finding I need more time for me. Often times our own self takes a back seat during busy seasons. The thing is, we can’t afford not to take care of our own soul. This is why David spoke to his soul, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone” (Ps. 62:1,5). We live unawakened lives when we neglect our souls.
Join as I’m a guest on The Dolly Mama and the Millennials podcast where we talk about ways to hold space for ourselves and why it’s important. Laugh and cry with us for thirty minutes as we explore the need for soul-care and how to do that during this busy journey of motherhood.
I need you to know that I love you. I want you to know exactly what those three words mean when they are coming from my heart to yours.
I have told you that I love you more times than either of us can remember. That’s a good thing. You’ve heard it from the first day I held you in my arms and you are hearing it again today. You will hear it from me tomorrow, and next week, as long as my tongue allows. My love for you is COUNTLESS.
My love for you is the reason that sometimes I stay awake and worry. Yet, the fear that I have that my heart might break someday is quieted by the fierce love I have for you and the knowledge that it’s all worth it. You are worth it. My love for you is FEARLESS.
I loved you when you were minutes old. I loved you when you were a “NO” screaming toddler. I loved you when you were fighting with your siblings in grade school. I loved you when you were a taller-than-me teenager. I loved you when you walked away from me into your college dorm room. I love you today. I will love you all the tomorrows. Nothing will change that. My love for you is AGELESS.
It’s been a lot of work to be your mom. The lack of sleep and the amount of energy I’ve poured in have left me exhausted at times. But the life and joy and beauty you have brought me is beyond what I could have imagined. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My love for you is TIRELESS.
I don’t care who knows how much I love you. I would shout it from the highest mountain to any who would listen. Everyone should know how wonderful and amazing you are and why you are so worth loving. My love for you is SHAMELESS.
I never knew love like this before I met you. It reaches places in me that I didn’t know existed. It’s higher than the uphill battles we’ve climbed. It’s wider than any mistake either of us make. It’s stronger than death. It’s longer than life. My love for you is DEPTHLESS.
No matter how many times I attempt to capture it in words, I am left dumb-founded. My love for you is more sacred than speech allows. My love for you is more precious than all the books that could ever be written. It’s easy to love you. My love for you is BOUNDLESS.
My love for began the first moment I found out about you and will continue until I take my last breath. You will carry it with you long after I am gone, until the moment you enter eternity yourself. We will then be reunited in perfect love on the other side. My love for you is ENDLESS.
The next time you hear me say them, even if it’s just a quick text, remember all of this. These three words come straight from the depths of my soul and I pray that they reach yours today.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” (Elizabeth Stone)
From my heart to yours,
P.S. One of you is having a birthday today! Happy Birthday Sarah Elizabeth Meassick! On this day 27 years ago, you made me a mom! I. CAN’T. EVEN. BELIEVE. IT. You are a mom yourself now, but no matter how many birthdays or children of your own you have, you are (and always will be) MY: