When I chose one word to focus on this year, I didn’t know exactly what I’d gotten myself into. I’d read some great posts about last year’s One Word experiences, and I looked forward to what God would show me through “release” this year.
I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
In January alone, the idea of release, freedom and letting go has been everywhere.
Here’s a roundup of what I’ve seen, read and experienced this month that relates to my one word.
- I knew one action I was going to take this year was to release the hold I’ve had on my novel writing. In the past, I’ve casually mentioned and almost apologized for writing a novel. I haven’t taken it seriously, and this year, I knew that I would have to if I wanted anyone else to. So, I started talking about it. I told some family members. I talked to some friends about what the story is. And then I got tagged in a blog hop that “forced” me to reveal more about the project. Yeah, it’s scary, but it’s also been neat. Because when you trust people with something that’s important to you, you’re often surprised by the reaction. So far, so good.
- This blog, by Jen Hatmaker, has challenged me to release my kids to be kids and not worry so much about the trouble they’re getting into or what might happen if they’re out of my sight for a few seconds. I’m a combination control freak/worry wart, so these words were challenging and encouraging at the same time.
- And this video of seniors snow tubing is a visual of what it means to release. Not only does this make me smile, it makes me want to take more risks.
- I allowed Facebook to show my age. I turn 35 this year. My age isn’t something I’ve been comfortable talking about in recent years. This year I’m adopting the motto: 35 and unashamed!
- Phil and I visited a Catholic adoration chapel and shrine in the Chicago suburbs. I have some preconceived notions about Catholicism, at times, and yet my heart was stirred by the silence and beauty of this place. Letting go sometimes means opening yourself up to expressions of faith different from your own.
- While we were home in Illinois, we also visited a couple of gravesites: my paternal grandfather’s, which I have not been to since he died in 2000, and a former co-worker who died two years ago. I haven’t yet known many people close to me who have died, so visiting gravesites hasn’t been important to me. But in a way, it provides closure and takes a little bit of the sting away from death.
- Psalm 118:5, “I called to the Lord in my distress; the Lord answered by setting me free.”
- Psalm 4:1, “Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I am hard-pressed; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”
- Isaiah 43:18-19, “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” To me, I heard, let go of what was. Look for what is and is to come.
- From Sacramental Life (which I review on this blog on Wednesday) in a chapter called “Living like you’ll live forever”: “As we give ourselves away for the good of others like people who have an endless supply of life …” This has reformed my thinking about giving of myself and my time and my strength. In Christ, those things are renewed, endlessly, till eternity. I often think of myself as limited.
- Also from Sacramental Life: “As we place Christ’s affirmation above all others, we find ourselves walking … in greater freedom from the fear of human disapproval of our faithful choices.” This resonates with me as my husband and I continue to follow God’s lead for ministry. It doesn’t make sense to some, and I sometimes find myself apologizing for living 800 miles away from family or feeling bad that we aren’t in a position to support our family without help. These words free me to follow Christ, seek His approval and leave the attitudes of others to Him.
- And then there’s this:
Looking forward to what the next month will bring when it comes to “release.”