I've always been a "word of the year" type gal. When I wrote a new year goals post this past January, I talked about how I was looking forward to 2020 being the year when I challenged myself. How little did I know just how true that would turn out to be. Only I didn't challenge myself...the world challenged me.
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As we come to the end of this year of change and turmoil, I decided to spend some time thinking about the words that actually summed up the year. In an interesting twist, I didn't expect there to be so many good words included in my list.
Release - the release of busyness, of fear, of holding on to things that were no longer helpful or best for me or for our family.
Community - this was a surprise to the introvert, but I discovered the importance of people, and the power of friendships - even when they are formed through WhatsApp chats.
Surrender - of my plans, my goals, my dreams, for myself, for the kids, for our world. While my inner control enthusiast was busy screaming, God was reminding me that He's in charge.
Strength - I discovered that, with God's help, I was stronger than I thought, and could do things that had previously felt impossible...like homeschooling five kids.
Togetherness - if you'd asked me last January if I would survive being with all five kids, 24/7, with no built in breaks while they are at school and I could work, I would have told you, "No way!" As it turns out, this forced time together has done wonders for our relationships, and I now view it as a gift...most days. ☺
But it wasn't all happiness, sunshine, and light. I mean, anyone who has gone through this year knows that 2020 threw more than its fair share of curve balls. So words like Grief, Tired, Change, Frustration, and Anger also made my list of words. But even in those seemingly negative responses, there was still growth and learning (another word of 2020), and I can now look back - even on those hard times - and find reasons to be thankful.
If there was ever a year for keeping track of what I was thankful for, 2020 was the year. I suspect that in one year, five years, 10 years, I'll look back on Facebook memories from this season, and be reminded that it wasn't all bad. No year is, just as no year is all good. Every year has the potential to be challenging—maybe not on a global scale, as we saw over the last 12 months—and every year has the possibility of changing us. It's up to us whether we embrace that change, or expend our energy trying to keep everything the same. Which, spoiler alert, never works.
What will 2021 hold? Only God knows! And I've just about decided that's the way I like it. Don't tell my inner control enthusiast, though...she'll freak out again. 😉
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A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.