So there's a relatively new thing that people are doing. At the beginning of each year, rather than creating a list of resolutions, they're picking a word theme to focus on. Some examples of the type of words people choose are peace, discipline, dwell, etc.
Last year, I decided to join in on this. 2016 was my year of "Courage." When I chose courage to be my word, I had no clue how much I would need it. All I knew was that I wanted to stop living my life in fear of everything.
I am a veritable scaredy cat. I always have been. I don't walk over drain grates on the sidewalk. I avoid geese. I turn into a 5-year-old when there's bad weather. I miss out on things and experiences because I let fear rule my life way too much. But I got sick of that. I got sick of not trusting God and missing out on what life had to offer, because I couldn't look past the potential explosion scene in my brain.
So I wrote the word "courage" on my heart and did small acts of courage every day. The fear didn't go away, but I stopped letting it rule me. To paraphrase A Series of Unfortunate Events, I did the scary thing first and got scared after. Well, technically, I did the scary thing while giving myself a pep talk. My self-talk changed from "you can't do this. This is pointless. Just leave." to "Be brave. Courage. You. Can. Do. This. You're awesome."
It made all the difference in the world, the growth I experienced by choosing to move forward with courage rather than being frozen in fear improved my life.
I started a new job, moved to a new city, signed a 13 month lease by myself, started going to a humongous church by myself, went on a tinder date with a cute guy, went on an old fashioned blind date with a different cute guy, wrote and shared vulnerable things, made friends, moved in with a stranger, started living by myself. All this and more.
I lived life.
The crazy thing is in the past few months I've had three new acquaintances hear my story and comment on how brave I am. I think I laughed all three times. I do not feel brave. The fight to be courageous is daily, and sometimes I lose. But other times I win. It's such a huge, albeit unintentional, compliment to hear someone call me brave. It's also a huge testimony of what God has done in my life in the past 14 months. Jackie Giles was never going to be brave on her own accord.
But now it's 2017 which means it's time for a new word. I am so ready to take on 2017 with courage and my new word. This year is all about being "Grounded." In December, I told a few people that my word was going to be "roots," but somehow that never felt quite right. Then one of my internet friends, Emma Bica, posted on Instagram that her word was "Embrace" and asked people what their words were. So I commented what I was thinking of, and my dilemma of how it just didn't have that sparkly perfect feeling yet. She replied with the suggestion "grounded," and it fit so well.
Here's my hope for 2017 and what being grounded looks like to me. I want to plug in and lean in to my circumstances and everything around me. I want to stop looking for the next best thing. I want to plant my feet firmly in the ground and say, "Here I am. Use me here, Lord." I want to live out "wherever you are, be all there" and "be where your feet are."
2016 was the year of stepping out in courage. 2017 will be the year of staying put when I want to run.
Being grounded is something I've been grappling with for a while and talked about it recently. I want to see everything and do everything and meet everyone, but as an introvert, I also want to sit in my apartment and get "me" time. But I am trying to show up and go to the same places. I am working on being proactive and asking friends to get coffee or lunch. It's gonna be a challenge but I think it's gonna be good.
Here's to people in 2018 remarking on how involved, plugged in and grounded I am.
P.S... Do you have a word for 2017? What is it? Why'd you pick it? I'd love to know!