My word for this year – GROW

Each year for the past few years, I’ve tried to focus on one thing, or area of my life, to work on that year.

On New Year’s Eve, a friend mentioned that she was going to ask God to give her one word to focus her life for the year. I thought that was a great idea, so on New Year’s Day, I sat on the couch in our sun-room and chatted to God about what one word could focus my life this year (if you’re not into “God-stuff”, maybe just spend a quiet moment thinking about what word would be appropriate for you this year).

The word that was impressed on my heart was, “GROW”.

When I thought about what that might mean, all sorts of things came to mind. I want to be better, to change, to transform. I want to grow as a person – in my thinking and experiences. I want to grow in my relationships – with God, with my hubby, my kids, and with other people.

Why should I bother to try to grow? Basically, because I need to – I’m not perfect. None of us are. But, where there is life, there should be growth. That’s the way we’re designed. If we don’t see growth in a living thing, we know there’s something wrong.

To grow this year, there are a few things I’m going to need. Just like a plant, I’ll need the right “nutrients” or input – that will include things like reading, learning from others and being in the right environment (e.g. having positive, encouraging and healthy influences). It will take effort and a deliberate plan to grow – e.g. deliberately trying new things, or new ways of doing things.

Growth is exciting, but it can be a bit scary too. To grow, we need to come to terms with reality, to prune or “lop off” our unhealthy bits or habits. Ouch…that can really hurt! But, just like a plant, we end up much healthier for the pruning.

What will be the test of whether I am growing or have grown this year? The fruit.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

 I’d love to hear your one word!

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What does your ‘wake’ look like?

Last year, I read a great book by well-known psychologist, Dr Henry Cloud, called “Integrity” (HarperCollins Publishers). One of the key things that lept out at me was his idea of the ‘wake’ that we leave behind – similar to the way a boat leaves a wake behind it as it goes through the water. Cloud notes that we leave a wake behind us, both in terms of tasks and relationships, as we move through our lives. That wake can either be good or bad.

I went to a funeral today. One of those more celebratory, “they lived well and had a good innings” kind of ones. It got me reflecting again about the legacy or ‘wake’ that we leave behind in terms of relationships. What it highlighted again for me was that it’s the every day choices we make that can impact people the most. That smile or hug, the text message to check on how someone’s going, a few encouraging words, or just noticing someone can have a huge positive impact on that person. Conversely, regularly criticising or belittling people, failing to give them attention, or being selfish and not sharing what we have is so damaging – on a personal level and to the healthy functioning of a whole community.

Sometimes I think we can focus too much on leaving behind some great project or large-scale thing that people can remember us by after we die. But…

the “little things” really ARE the big things!

Sure, we’re all human. We make mistakes or wear our “cranky pants” from time to time and don’t always behave or treat others as we should, but what’s the general pattern of our interactions with people? Do we leave them feeling better about themselves or the world, or do they leave us feeling bruised and beaten around the head?

I’m hoping and planning to leave people in a better place than they were in before they interacted with me. It’s not always easy. It’s a deliberate choice I’m making to sacrifice and give grace.

What does your wake look like?

This post is dedicated to “Aunty Joan”, who loved Jesus, loved people, and was very ready to “go home”.

A blog to call my own

Why blog? This was a question my husband asked me when I told him I was thinking of starting my own blog. My response was initially, “cos it’s better out than in!”. I love to journal and reflect on things anyway, so why not share the thoughts? Part of me also wanted my own blog because HE has a great one, and we both know that I’M the writer in the family, so surely I should have one if he does!

One of the things I love to do when I get together with other mums, friends or family is to share the things we’ve learned about life. I’m not just talking about navel-gazing…ok, so there’s a bit of that! But I really love to strip away the fluff and get to the guts of what’s really going on. I’ve found that when I open up and share my thoughts and experiences in life, other people commonly respond, “Oh, I thought it was just me!”. I reckon everyone needs to know that they are not alone and that, when it comes down to it, so many of us share the same struggles and hopes.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” – CS Lewis

Feel free to stick around, journey with me and let me know what you think!

Cheers & God bless,

Bec