Here we are at the start of yet another year. Am I the only one who feels like time just flies by these days? I swear it didn’t move this fast when I was counting down the days to my birthday or summer break back in elementary school! But, such is life I suppose! — Happy New Year friends!
How many of you have adopted the trend of selecting a specific word or mantra for your year? A couple of words to point to are inspiration/focus/motivation throughout the highs and lows that each year brings. I tried this for the first time last year. Last year my “word” was content, stemming from my inability to ever feel just that. Content. With all the changes that came in 2018 (bringing home a preemie, feeling called to leave the corporate world and become a SAHM, losing an income, etc.) this word seemed very fitting. Most of my life, I’ve looked forward to the next thing. Accomplish a goal then immediately set the next. Return from a trip, pick the next destination. Get married, now it’s time for a new house/dog/baby. Anyone else? Please tell me I’m not alone.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11Philippians 4:11 was my go to reference with my word of the year. This verse helped immensely. Learning to be a stay at home mom has been one of the most challenging job changes for me thus far. Also, learning to be a mom AND a wife at the same time. Whew! My biggest lesson through all of this was: Circumstances are never stagnant.
As I sit to write about my word of 2018, I realized, I held on to it for the first quarter and maybe the second. But this Phil. 4:11 message didn’t stay with me like I’d hoped. I got wrapped up in moving, unanswered prayers, prayers answered in ways I didn’t like, and people just being themselves around me. Long story short, my word of the year was my word of a few months.
Ready for a New Word
So here we are… 2019. I’m ready to try this again and God has been working in my heart over the past 6 weeks, revealing to me exactly where I need to grow. Per usual, He’s helped me get pretty darn uncomfortable. I’m the kind of person who has to be in pain before I’m ready to make some changes. So through more than one avenue, God has shown me another area He’s ready to work on with me.
I’ve worn this perfectionism quality like a badge of honor for far too long. My husband has pointed out, on more than one occasion, there are several things he can’t even suggest doing because I’m adamantly opposed to doing things I don’t know how to do (because I might not be good* at them). Moreover, when I’m faced with doing something I may not do well, but have no way out, I have terrible anxiety and react in a completely irrational manner. It’s not a secret either, it’s become a joke among my closest friends.
Thankfully, this year, I was introduced to Brene Brown when her book Daring Greatly (can’t say enough good things about this book — READ IT!) was selected for Book Club. I heard her loud and clear as she talked about perfectionism and what is really going on internally. I’m sure this information isn’t new, but like the old saying goes, “I wasn’t ready to hear until I was ready.” It all of the sudden became clear to me that being a perfectionist has been holding me back from really enjoying life. I haven’t been the wife, mother, daughter or friend that I believe God wants me to be because I’m so focused on doing everything perfectly. What does failure look like? I don’t know because I don’t allow that in my life. What an awful way to live! I’ve missed out on so much because of that.
The not so surprising part about all of this that is not new is, I’m very aware that my issues with perfection stem from pride and that pride is from my crippling fear of what others think of me. I feel sick to my stomach picturing others reading that. Why?? Because it means I’m not perfect! Something bothers me. I’m just a scared little girl, trying to look like I have it all together! More specifically, the only reason I might remotely pull this illusion of “all togetherness” off, is because I refuse to do anything that might show a flaw or weakness.
Motto for 2019
So this is where my word, or should I say words of the 2019 stem from. Out of my desire to excel, but mostly of my fear of failure. I realize there is nothing wrong with wanting to excel and be precise, but when the fear of being anything but the best stops you from doing something, there’s a problem. My pride and self-centered fear have driven me for far too long, and I’m ready for God to change my heart. To help me let go of this need to be perfect. Through all of this change of heart and eye-opening, he laid out my motto very clearly for me: Fail Gracefully.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength over my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
This verse in Psalm along with the song Give Me Faith by Elevation Worship will be my inspiration and reminder for 2019. What about you? Have you selected a word for your 2019? Is this a new concept for you? I encourage you to search your heart and see if this might be a good addition to your 2019. Please join me as I share my journey with you this year… as I try new things, do things I’m not good at, let others win, admit my weaknesses, and fail… gracefully.