When 2016 started I had zero expectations for the year. I was coming out of a pretty long and rough year and my prayer for 2016 was for calm and boring. I didn’t want to make any big decisions or see any huge changes after being rocked a lot the year before.
I also prayed for growth. My word for the year was Grow and I can say that I definitely experienced that. It didn’t always look like I thought it would and of course it didn't come without growing pains.
It maybe wasn’t the kind of noticeable growth like when you put those capsules in water and they grow into a dinosaur, but more like a slow and steady growth. It mostly happened underneath the surface and felt like roots going deeper so that future growth can be sustained and have a strong foundation.
This last year was a year for recovery and healing. I left one big, intense season of life and transitioned to a new season. A season in uncharted territory doing jobs I had no idea how to do and recalibrating to life without the only job and environment I had really known in my adult life.
In 2016, I had to create space for my soul to breathe again and for new things to take root.
I learned how to just be. How to be present and be okay with a hazy future and uncertainty.
I took to heart the Psalm, "He will lead you beside still waters, he will restore your soul." Every time I got antsy, tried to force a decision or plan or asked what's next? that Psalm would pop into my head. I did a lot of listening, being still and concentrating on just doing the right next thing this last year. I grew in my ability to be patient and not have to have everything all figured out - resting in the fact that sometimes what you're supposed to be doing is nothing.
Last year when talking about my word for the year I said this:
I want to grow deeper roots and reach new heights.
I want to try new things, stretch myself and not become complacent of this is “just how things are.”
I want to grow in wisdom and maturity.
I want to grow in relationships: to build deeper community, create richer opportunities for fellowship and practice hospitality.
I want to grow in my compassion and kindness.
I want to grow in my courage and in my confidence.
I want to grow in my discipline and self-control.
I want to grow in my self-love and in my understanding of extending grace and kindness to myself.
I want to pay better attention.
I want to grow in my love for others.
I want to better understand the world around me and other perspectives.
I want to get to know Jesus even better and what it really means to love God and others well.
I want to continue to grow into who I am meant to be.
I want to grow in healthiness and towards wholeness.
I'm thankful I can look back and say these are all areas where I saw growth in myself. It's not an I have arrived moment, but rather a knowing that I started last year with the intention of growing in the ways above and that will continue into the year ahead.
While my word for 2016 was Grow and I have a new word for 2017, I know this theme of growth will continue. It's not something we can stop doing, you know?
If something isn't growing, it's dying. And I plan on standing firm on the growth and foundation that was set this last year and taking on 2017 fully alive.