My 2017 Word
You read that right. 2-0-1-7.
Girl, that is sooo last year!
Cut me some slack. I'm just now tying the pretty red bow around the "2017 box".
After thumbing through my journals from last year, the books I read, and the conversations with faithful friends that I still remember to this day, I realized that one single word was prevalent throughout my memories.
My 2017 word was: PERSPECTIVE
2017 was the year I purposefully broadened my perspective. To include other viewpoints. To call out completely wrong, limited perspectives I've had. And to develop wider perspective on things I'm more than curious about.
To wrap up the year, I just completed a brain dump journal entry where I spilled all the ways my perspective changed, and I'd like to share that with you. It's a quick read, and I'd love for you to engage with me through the comments. Please leave me a comment at the end of the post with what resonated with you!
Love begins with compassion, but ends with action. Love that doesn't act isn't love -- it's a lame attempt to avoid guilt.
I used to only verbalize faith, but now I'm actually living my faith. Faith is doing, not theoretically believing, but doing. I can't have faith in Scripture and not act accordingly -- which typically requires counter-intuitive actions. (Hello, career change!)
In our first married year, I realized our (few) quarrels have resulted from us both digging in our heels. Being stubborn. The "only I'm right" attitude. Pride. The only way to defeat this is to truly love like Jesus, asking my husband, "What's best for you?"
For more reflections on our first year of marriage, click here.
A few months ago I began my new career as a writer. Looking back, I would have sworn I'd have a book by now, but that would have been my own ambition guiding my steps. Instead, God's asked me to be faithful in the little right now, showing up everyday and doing the work regardless of lack of worldly recognition.
So each day, I'm living within His Words to me as I work out my understanding of them. Today, I'm learning how to DO what I HEARD from Him -- a Word I documented in my most recent blog post, "Call us to light, Lord." Just this week I learned to call out a deep, unspoken fear I have, and how calling it to light was the only way to break its death grip on my life.
It's been mind-blowing to see Jesus show up so prevalent in my career, but it's only been as I've allowed Him to do so.
I have a much more defined idea of my next few steps into Blog Land, and it began with defining my offering to readers. What I offer is perspective. My offering isn't a devo, a Bible study, or a group to connect with. It's godly perspective for your everyday life, geared specifically toward Christian millennial women. That's my unique offering that I'm gifted to share -- perspective -- and I cherish my niche. (Lemme take a half-second break to say THANK YOU to you Christian millennial women for reading and engaging my blogs!!!)
Do you ever feel like you're not where you wanted to be at this point in your life? Honestly, I thought my career change was a major sign that I was in the "sprouting season" of life. All the work I've sown into this blog and personal growth would finally sprout. Rather, God recently revealed I'm in a tilling season. He's churning things out of my life and replacing those things with new blessings. Instead of people who are not really for me, He's providing growth partners. Instead of personal status, He's growing my humility. Instead of self-worth, He's revealing my identity in Jesus. Instead of quantity, He's adding quality. And I'm learning in every season to be grateful, whether its planting, pruning or harvest.
I'm enjoying travel more than I ever have. I used to travel to get away from reality. But now I travel to bring back greater perspective. We have a couple of trips planned this year that I'm so excited to experience! Blog posts to follow, of course ;)
I used to think I wasn't part of the problem with social injustice, but two statements drastically changed my perspective this year. Let me share:
Honestly, the first one was an Instagram. It said something like: "It must be nice to be born of a skin color where social issues aren't important." That hit me right in the gut. Skin color/ socioeconomic status/ nationality -- those are all things I don't think enough about. How can I be part of the solution to these issues, and not another person who ignores them? How can I bring justice within all races, neighborhoods, and nations? What can I do? It's a question you'll see me answer this year. Stay tuned...
The other statement that hit me hard was from Trevor Noah in his comedy skit on Netflix. He was describing the British colonizing Australia and ravaging the native people, their lifestyle and culture. And then the British man looks around and says, "I don't know what happened to the natives. I guess they just left". How unaware! I'm starting to see that the only way to "bridge" the race gap, income gap, gap of hatred is by BEING THE BRIDGE. Not by silently accepting the way things are, but by making all effort to be the bridge, walk across it, and join your neighbors that don't look like you, talk like you, dress like you, etc. Diversity is a trendy topic for workplaces, but how naive to think workplaces can affect the greatest change. No, people like you and me will be the ones to champion diversity, not the government or any corporate policy. Do we want diversity and social justice bad enough? Do we know God's heartbeat on this?
Community plays a massive role that we need to be more committed to. Choosing to give yourself toward projects with like-minded people is so important for growing as a person, team member, and leader. I wrote 3 blogs to expound on this idea, which you can check out here.
God recently revealed to me that friendship is far more important than we make it out to be. The problem is that real friendship is authentic, committed and messy...three things that makes our generation cringe. Real friends aren't the ones you interact with on social media; real friends are the ones you hang with so much that it goes undocumented. Real friends are committed, which allows you to be authentic because you know that nothing you reveal can scare them away. Real friendships are messy. In the last few years, I've been inundated with acquaintances who are friendly for a season (or a year), and then leave just as quickly as they entered. We never get to that place of friendship where conflict is presented and resolved, which teaches us to hide our flaws to the next group of friends. It's gotta stop! This coming year, I hope to solidify 3 quality, long-term friendships as growth partners in life. Whether or not I have a sizable social following is so unimportant as long as I can rely on 3 loyal friends.
As we age, it's easier to lose the flexibility to gain greater perspective. We get more ingrained in our own logic. We only hangout with people who are just like us. Heck, Facebook only let's us see posts of people who are already agree with us...how dangerous!!! We get stiff, unmovable and rigid. And that's when the next generation starts complaining about our inflexibility. Be honest! You have most certainly complained about a baby boomer not understanding the minds of millennials, or you've laughed at a senior who can't figure out the interwebs. When you stop trying to gain perspective, you just get stuck...in whatever mindset you're in. The world keeps growing and changing, and you're just stuck.
But if you hunger for new perspective, you will stay flexible, which will help you to connect with people of all ages and all backgrounds. It will help you enjoy the future technology you can't even imagine today. It will help your curiosity to travel the world. It will even help you see where YOU have been wrong in the fights in your marriage.
Perspective -- pretty cool, right? Let's aim to keep broadening our perspective, listening to opinions that differ from ours, BEING THE BRIDGE to ideas we've never considered.
I'd love it if you would leave a comment below with (1) a new perspective you learned this past year, or (2) what perspective in this blog post resonated with you.
Thanks for reading!