My 2019 Word of the Year

My 2019 Word of the Year - Pursuing Pearls Blog

For the last few years when January comes around, I’ve enjoyed choosing a word to focus in on, directing my steps in the twelve months ahead. I say “enjoyed” loosely because to be honest, these words-of-the-year always seemed to come to me after weeks of wrestling and struggling. This year proved to be no different.

But finally, while scrolling through Instagram one quiet afternoon mid January, I stumbled upon these few yet convicting words from a favorite author and evangelist, Priscilla Shierer:  “Live for the applause of Heaven.”

That’s it, I thought. I found it:

{ Heavenward }

This year I am turning my gaze up, letting go of my desire for (or sometimes obsession with) the approval and applause of this world. I had (have, really) become too concerned with people’s opinions and even with my own often burdensome expectations of myself; too concerned with a skewed view of perfection.

How freeing to not base my life on the ever fluctuating feelings and perspectives of this world? But I have found I cannot release my desires for approval without redirecting them. Turning my eyes heavenward, I’m praying for a changed heart in return as I meditate on these verses in the months ahead:

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].  – Colossians 3:2

So above all, guard the affections of your heart,[a]
    for they affect all that you are.

    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
    for from there flows the wellspring of life.  – Proverbs 4:23

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.  – Colossians 3:23

And last of all, the parable that directed my heart to begin writing in the first place:

“Heaven’s kingdom realm is also like a jewel merchant in search of rare pearls. 46 When he discovered one very precious[a]and exquisite pearl, he immediately gave up all he had in exchange for it.”  – Matthew 13:45-46

May 2019 be a year of turning my gaze Heavenward, and in doing so exchanging the lesser things for the greater; the temporary for the eternal.

. . .

Do you have a word for 2019? I would love to hear what it is and the process that brought it to you!

 

 

2018 – A Year of Cultivating

 

{ Pursuing Pearls Blog } 2018 - A Year of Cultivating

For the last several years I’ve chosen a word as my “goal” instead of New Years resolutions. Cultivate proved the perfect tone for 2018. What I was most drawn to about the word was that it didn’t imply perfection, but did require action. I longed for a year of pursuing growth, and while it was anything but perfect, I know I will continue to reap the harvest of what I experienced and learned.

Faith
Marriage & Family
Relationships
Home
Dreams

All of these things take time, they take work, they take intention. Last year my goal was to cultivate it all; not to passively wish for things to be a certain way or merely hope for change. I believe reflection is a vital part of growth – it keeps us encouraged (seeing where we’ve come from) and builds momentum (pushing us into deeper, bigger things). So, here is just a handful of reflections on 2018:

My Faith // This was and always will be ongoing growth, never the same as the day before. I’m so grateful for God’s endless grace, which covered me with peace and joy during an amazing yet challenging year. Setting aside time to be in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship was not always easy but always left me filled to the brim. When I abide in him, he is lavishly faithful.

My Marriage & Family // The months passed quickly with a newborn, but things really shifted gears when I left my job to become a stay at home mom. I had originally planned on waiting until 2019 for this change, but after meeting some financial and personal goals earlier than expected, I knew the time was right. I’m thankful to have a husband who is more supportive than I could have imagined. I’ve thought long and hard about my “dream job”, and while I have still have many personal aspirations, the decision to invest my days in Noli truly is a dream come true.

My Relationships // I was very fortunate to surround myself with some amazing friends and mentors this year. Participating in diverse Bible studies, joining my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, and making time for friends without kiddos present are a few ways I was intentional about this. Relationships require investment. Looking back, I’m immensely grateful to the kind souls who invested in my life even when I struggled in reciprocation.

My Home // Our home was so filled this year, exactly the way Stephen and I wanted it. It truly brings us joy opening our doors and letting people in. Loved ones gathered for holidays and celebrations, new and dear friends came for play dates and meals, relationships with neighbors blossomed, and a few others also called our home theirs for several months. I’ve been convicted that home has nothing to do with the size of a house or the trendy decor, but rather what takes place within its walls.

My Dreams // As for my dreams beyond motherhood, I have so many building. I am quite an expert at keeping my dreams in my head, allowing them to steep – possibly for too long – before pursuing or implementing them. However, some dreams have been intentionally placed on the back burner for this busy season of mothering a toddler. And I am perfectly happy with that choice.

As I think about a word to adorn in 2019 (I’m still pondering a few!), I look forward to this day next year, and the reflections I’d like to have. What did I learn? How am I different? Did I use my time wisely?

For now, regardless of what 2018 held for you, I want to wish you a very happy new year! Leave a comment with any words or goals you have for this year upon us – I would love to cheer you on!