My word of the year for 2011 was RISK. Upon reflection, I was pleased to see that my year really was characterized by “risk, not rust.” I stuck my neck out for a lot of things: I networked like crazy, took on freelance work in areas where I am not necessarily an expert (or wasn’t, I am now!), took a consulting job even though it was full-time, managed to swing working and homeschooling, started teaching in our homeschool co-op, took the GRE, contacted professors I hadn’t spoken to in a decade, and applied to graduate schools.
Pretty much every time I risked, it turned out great! That’s not to say things turned out as planned, but they did work out. My fears about taking risks wound up being totally unfounded. God really is there to guide me and I don’t have to be fearful.
On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, my friend sent me an email that said “33 is going to be a brilliant year!” She meant brilliant as in fabulous, but I liked the word and as I thought more about it, I thought brilliant would be a good word for me for 2012. The dictionary definitions of BRILLIANT really touch on things I’d like to keep in mind this year:
1) Striking, distinctive
I have spent a lot of time in my life trying to be what I think other people want me to be, rather than being who God designed me to be. I’m often afraid to just be myself, because I think that’s not what people want to see or hear and I want people to like me. But really, the times when I have been myself I’ve been most happy and made my best friends. This year I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining and apologizing for who I am in hopes of pleasing other people. I just want to be myself and focus on pleasing God. So maybe that will mean I fit in less, but I’ll try to bear in mind that being striking and distinctive can be a good thing.
2) Cut in a particular form with numerous facets
When I took risks in 2011 I often got feedback insinuating that you can’t work AND be a good mom, you can’t essentially leave the workforce for 5 years and then expect to get a flexible job, you can’t homeschool AND be successful in a career, you can’t be a mom AND be a writer, you can’t just up and decide you want to go back to school after a decade of doing other things, and so forth. While those comments made me nervous at the time, I found in actual practice they were hogwash. The fact is, God made me a multi-faceted person. And I daresay He made you that way too. When I try to focus only on one facet and neglect the rest, I’m not happy OR effective. This year I want to keep in mind that all of my facets are there for a reason, and that the God who designed them for me can also work out a way for me to use them to reflect Him.
3) Bold, unusually alert
This is a year beginning with a lot of things up in the air. I have just finished a consulting contract, I have applied to graduate schools, I have a novel in draft, and I have a number of other options and scenarios in play, as does my husband. We don’t really know what 2012 holds for our family. For that reason, I want to be sure I’m being unusually alert. I want to be alert to how changes are affecting my husband and our kids, alert to God’s leading for our family, and alert to other possibilities that might not have dawned on us yet. I’m excited to see what this year holds for us, and I want to go forth boldly no matter what that means.
4) Very bright, glittering
Another thing I want to be mindful of is how my own attitudes and responses shape my perception and our family dynamic. I do not want to fall into habits of discontentment or being critical. I want to be constantly mindful of the blessings God has given us, the exciting ways I can see Him working in our lives, and the unique way He has called us. I want to see exactly where I am – this age, this place, these callings, this stage of life – as a bright and marvelous gift. That’s not to say that hard things won’t happen, because they almost certainly will. But no matter what transpires in 2012, I want to be mindful of the good, the real, and the true working out in my circumstances.
So here’s to a brilliant 2012! What’s your word of the year?