Word of the year 2018: Shine
You can read about my 2016 word here, and here, my 2017 word, here. I also used those words in my 2016 and 2017 Write 31 Days Challenge.
On January 1st I was driving up to Seattle to pick up my daughter and son-in-law from the airport (a 2 1/2ish hour drive). I was thinking "man, I still don't have a word for this year, nothing is really coming to me". As I drove, literally with no one else on the dark freeway (it was early morning), listening to music, a song came on. As I listened to the words, the line "so rise, breaking the dark, piercing the night, you're made to shine, an army of hope, bringing the world a radiant light, you were made to rise" (Danny Gokey, Rise). And I knew! That one word....SHINE.....was my word for the year.
As I think about all the sadness, tragedy, hopelessness, prejudice, hate, (need I go on?) taking place all around us, it's easy to think, "how can I, one person, make a difference?". I'm fairly passive, not confrontational by nature. But what I can do is SHINE....SHINE peace, SHINE hope, SHINE love, SHINE kindness, SHINE friendship, SHINE acceptance (even if I don't agree). Everywhere I go, every day. In any capacity. Maybe it's a note, maybe a smile or kind word. Maybe it's an act of kindness. Maybe it's speaking life and identity into someone.
One thing I've become more aware of in the last few years is that in all I do, I don't want to do it with an agenda. I don't want my motivation to be as a means to an end and sadly, all to often that is what motivates people, not to see the person or situation as valued or important in and of itself, but as the focus, or useful in achieving an aim. Let's say I want a promotion (I'll keep it safe), and I'm kind to my boss, maybe bringing coffee, running errands, etc...in hopes that I'll get that promotion or raise. I'm not doing it because I find them important or valuable whether I get that promotion or not, but in hopes that my actions will bring about the promotion. They are being done with the motivation of achieving a certain aim. We see it on a daily basis, and really, it's not that our intentions are wrong, but if that end goal doesn't occur, what is our response. Can we shine love to someone even if they never ever agree with us, or change to what we think they should? Are we willing to see people and treat them according to who they were created to be without ever expecting something from them?
No matter who you are, where you live, what you do on a daily basis...you can shine...even if you are a stay at home mom and rarely leave the house, and when you do, you're so focused on those little ones with you, you don't notice much else....that's okay. You shine for them and to them. Because the biggest impact we can have is within the four walls of our homes. So you just keep loving your families, neighbors, friends, etc. Keep pouring into their lives.
I'm looking so forward to this new year and all that it will hold. As a side note...our oldest daughter are expecting their first baby in July, and we found out this morning it's going to be a boy! So excited.
Do you pick a word for the year? I'd love to know what your word is? I encourage you to take each day at a time. And if at the end of the year you think "hmmm, I didn't quite live that word this year, or, hmmm...I kind of forgot all about it". That's okay. Carry it over to the next year, or just keep it somewhere in your mind. But don't get discouraged. As Dory would say "just keep swimming, just keep swimming".
With Joy Unquenchable,