Two years ago, I decided to choose one word-in lieu of my usual 15 odd resolutions-for the year. One word to encompass 365 days. To guide me through twelve long months. I wasn’t sure if I could swing it. The perfectionist in me yearns for a categorized list, itemizing all the ways in which I am not even close to good enough.
But my formula to reach perfection was not paying off. Striving tends to leave me feeling cranky and depressed and hoarding Dairy Milks like a madwoman–kind of the opposite of what ideal Megan is supposed to be. So with nothing to lose, I prayed about a word, silently hoping the Lord would drop a nice one like REST on me.
I learned quickly enough that the word marked by the Lord for me was always the one that made me say, “No freaking way.”
In 2012, my word was RELEASE, a horrible word for someone who can’t even release losing a game of rock-paper-scissors, let alone her life. 2012 just happened to be the year I became a mom, and it was one big exhausting year of releasing every ounce of control I foolishly thought I had.
I thought 2013 would bring a bit of a break. All that releasing had left me a bit spent. But instead, another major word threatened to squash me: OWN.
My word for 2013 was OWN. And, what do you know, OWN has been a big deal for me this year. The short list:
1) OWNING that I am a mom. Not a mom but . . .let me tell you about the four million other things I do. Not a mom and . . .please think I’m still smart and important and valuable. Not a mom or . . . someone who contributes in a valuable way to this world. I am a mom. Period. And I’m learning to own it for the crazy beautiful work that it is, without feeling the need to explain my life to every complete stranger who asks, “So what do you do?”
2) OWNING that I am a writer. This one was horrifying for me. A few months back, someone asked if I was a writer. And for the first time ever, I answered yes. Convincingly. I realize this sounds trivial. But hearing myself say it out loud was major. I even took the tagline off my website that read ‘writer of sorts’, because I realized I was demeaning myself on my own website. I know. So, in case you were wondering, I am a writer. Boom.
3) OWNING my Big Hairy Dreams. God has given me lots of lovely dreams, most of which I have responded to with, “That is such a super idea. But you need to find someone _____[fill in the blank: prettier, smarter, more spiritual, who doesn’t watch reality TV, with a flatter stomach] to do it.” I often have the names of everyone better equipped than me at the ready for God. You know, in case He needs a few leads. But this year, after a few (many) gentle nudges (shoves) I said, “Yes God. I’m picking up what you’re putting down. I’ve got this one.”
This one, as it turned out, was raising $10000 for 250 little world-changers-to-be in Uganda. Young women who wanted to stay in school, but lacked the sanitary items and pads necessary to do so once they got their periods. Girls having to drop out of school because of their periods made me insanely angry, so I made up my mind to plan an event to raise the money (read more about the Watoto and Keep a Girl in School here). How hard could it be?
Which bring us to the crème de la crème of my year of OWN:
4) OWNING that I can’t do it alone. This was the worst one. By far. When the event didn’t raise nearly enough money, I wallowed in a super-adorable pity party for days, numbing myself with all the leftover protein bars and Project Runway. I came out of my hole long enough to do one smart, completely out of of character thing: I told people how I was really feeling. And – keep the smelling salts handy – I asked for help. For real. And my people rallied like champs. They wrote essays. The fund-matched. They talked to their friends and to their women’s groups and to their pastors. Two weeks after my Anne Shirley style depths-of-despair breakdown, over $10000 had been raised. And 250 girls get to stay in school and change their nation. No big deal.
My intense year of OWN has left me wondering if perhaps the Lord will grant me a word like PEACE or CHOCOLATE for 2014.
But of course, that’s not the case. I toyed with a few words, and then I got that special one. The one that made me whine, “But that one’s too haaaarrrrrrrd.”
My word for 2014 is THRIVE.
More juicy details on that in the new year. In the meantime, won’t you join me in choosing one word for your year? You can read a bit more about the concept here. It’s been completely revolutionary for me. If you’re up for it, do leave a note (and your word) in the comments.
Much love to you, and Happy New Year!