Every new year, I try to carve out time to reflect on the previous year, plan for the coming twelve months, and then pray for a word that will hopefully be the banner over that year. I've kept a pretty good record of past words that have set the tone for their respective years — authenticity, simplicity, unashamed, pursuit, adventure, change, commit, create — but I absolutely dropped the ball in 2017. While it's true that I was closing out one of the most stressful, busy seasons I'd walked through — having paid off a ton of debt inevitably running on fumes — and I knew that I was going to be gearing up for the season that I now find myself in, I was also distracted from some of the most important things (like Jesus). The beginning of last year was a little bananas, to say the least.
I'm not sure if it's allowed, but if I could retroactively give 2017 a word, it would be faith. Just faith. Because it took a lot of faith to leave my cute Nashville house, quit my full-time job, and move back to my California hometown for a few months in preparation for a multi-month long trip to Europe. It was all really hard, and yet I now find myself in this season of "in-between." As I've been thinking and praying about 2018 — imagining all of the things I believe are going to happen this year — one word came to my mind so quickly that I knew it had to be my word for the year: embrace.
While I was working on my #GOALsheets last week, narrowing down the dreams and passions I want to explore more in depth this year, I knew that these were things that needed to be embraced: minimalism, a long season of travel, writing and blogging, making photography part of my daily life, and seeking Jesus more and better. Thus, embrace emerged as my word for 2018, and here's what I think that might look like...
EMBRACE (n): to accept or support willingly & enthusiastically
- Embracing uncertainty and unknown in this weird, beautiful season
- Embracing new places and spaces and depths, especially while traveling
- Embracing flexibility, learning to go with the flow as change (inevitably) comes my way
- Embracing a simpler lifestyle with even less stuff and more memories made
- Embracing my gifts of writing and photography by doing both more consistently
- Embracing the people I love and the ones I've yet to meet
- Embracing movement in order to achieve some of my fitness goals
- Embracing my body, continuing on my journey of self-love and confidence
- Embracing my health and fighting against my PCOS by eating better and more consciously
- Embracing absolutely all that God has for me, no matter where He leads
2018 is easily one of the most daunting years I've walked into. While I have tons to celebrate and be thankful for — debt freedom, a solid group of friends all across the country, a loving biological and spiritual family, relatively good health, and a Savior who is wild about me in spite of me — there are still so many questions in this season. I mean, anytime someone asks me what I am going to do after Europe or what I ultimately want to do with my life, it takes everything in me to not either: a. curl up into a ball and cry, or b. punch them.
But I also know that this year holds so much adventure, and so many possibilities. Truly, the possibilities feel endless. I *get to* travel for a few months without debt, and who but God knows the people I might meet or the opportunities that might present themselves along the way. God could literally do anything, and that is both terrifying and exciting. So as I embrace all that this year holds, I am also praying for clarity, fully expectant that God is going to bring life and vision and opportunity my way, and that I am going to learn so much more about Him and myself along the journey. I'm nervous, for sure, but I am mostly just expectant. 2018 is going to be a doozy, guys... here we go!