I’ve never done the “word of the year” practice.

I have this weird thing about not wanting to join in something just because it’s popular (though admittedly I still do in some cases – I just don’t like that I do).

It took me years to read Harry Potter because it was such a craze. I wanted to form my own opinion. I saw many of the movies before reading the books – and if you know me, that’s backwards. It wasn’t until book 7 was about to be released that my friend Alison convinced me I need to get with it already. When I started, you better believe I sprinted through books 1-6 in record time and kept going every year.

With the word of the year, I respect it and have always thought it was a nice idea. I completely understand why it is done. Not only is it motivating, it provides one a grounding to see the whole picture in times of plenty and want, in times of quiet and times of turmoil. Using that word and more importantly, how God is using that word and theme, is of great advantage to a journey and a focus. I wholeheartedly understand.
Still, I prefer to stay back. It’s hard to describe.

But I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I could use the extra motivation to stay connected with His presence. I’ve come to understand better the importance of my participation in my growth and daily life and how a practice such as this, assists.

I wasn’t even sure until this morning that I was going to give it a try.

I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a few posts about what someone’s was last year and how they reflected on the path traveled.

Truly, while doing that, a word came to me.

I shrugged it off, immediately hesitant for all the avoidance reasons.
                I don’t like doing something just because it’s done.
Yet the word came again. Quietly. No fanfare or anything after that. It just came again and I felt that it would be an integral piece of the coming months, so why not give it a go? I’m the only one stopping me. Who cares about anything else?

And so, I am taking 2019 through the lens of a word, a theme, a perspective – whatever you want to call it. The internally whispered word:

L e a n

I need to work on this verb.

To lean is to surrender the fact that you won’t carry the weight alone. That you will rely on another force to support you. To lean is to lean in. To listen more, to isolate less. To lean in is to let your guard down, to get closer to others and allow them closer to you.

Lean on those who love me.
Letting them share the weight I force myself to carry.

Lean into His beauty.
Learning more truths and trading heavy garments for the weightlessness of light.

Lean to let myself be supported
by a force greater than my anxiety, my worry.
To stop trying to balance myself against the changing forces
and to let those who love me – love me.

To stop taking on all the responsibilities alone, to stop putting all the things on my shoulders. To let weight take me to the posture of release. To give up and to give in.

I can never know the future. I am aware of the fact that I don’t even want that responsibility. I like to be surprised and I know that seeing pieces of the whole picture is a generous blessing. It is to prepare myself along the way for the good, the hard, and ultimately – the beauty inexplicable. For from all things, even ash – beauty comes by the hands of the Giver of Life.

So if you are into this kind of thing, feel free to share your word, or to share why you, too, are hesitant.

I invite you to give me guidance and parts of your own experience and journey through similar endeavors.

Lastly, I welcome prayer. Prayer for the year ahead. Prayer that I walk through the difficult action verb of leaning with intention, humbleness, teachability, endurance, trust and gratitude.

Growing is always a stunningly beautiful act. I ache to grow every day and long to be aware that even when it looks anything but lovely, that it is a process of refinement to scrape away impurities and to reflect the image of Christ in me.

So comes a new year.

May the act of leaning be my greatest lesson.

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