Blogging seems to be a low priority. 9 months later I wonder why I even keep this space alive. It hangs over my head a little … like a mobile of unspoken words. Part of me wonders, is this an essential part of my life that I should allow to hold a space? In the interest of a simplified life … is keeping a blog simple? No. It’s not. It requires time. And thought. And a little bit of Brave. Because if I’m to write in this space, the only way it makes any sense to me is to open up my heart. To process in words what my inner life observes. I’m not interested in fluff and superficial. I’m not interested in surface issues and meaningless banter. I’m interested in making a difference. I’m interested in inspiring change. I hold the same truth for the things I post on social media. Do my words build up those who will encounter them? Do my words inspire big things like growth or change or maybe something as simple as openness to a different perspective? So … I’m testing this blog space in 2017 … once a month I want to share something of my observations and experiences to encourage, build up, encourage, inspire, change. Once a month feels realistic to me.
For this first post of 2017 I want to first speak to 2016. My year of Brave. I shared with my small group last night my wrestling with the word a bit. Through the year, I thought of what Brave really looks like — men, women, and children fighting for their lives, for their marriages, for their belief systems, for their soul. Brave can be super raw. My “Brave” here and here seems so trite compared to the real battles going on out there. So I want to acknowledge that I feel an aching for those whom I know and those I’ve never met who are fighting a true battle of one kind or another.
What Brave looked like for me this year was more about living without regret. There were some things I’ve wanted to do for 20 years and it was time to step into them. These were a couple of things that I thought, “If I were lying on my death bed, aside from relationships and important things like that, what would I regret not having done?” These thing were brave for me because they were wrapped up in the fear of failure. I think one reason we put off dreams is because they seem impractical or we’re afraid we’re going to suck. The fear of disappointment is a heavy and paralyzing fear.
Brave looked like investing in a cheap pottery wheel and finally throwing pottery after 20 years of wishing. The remainder of 2016 was spent honing my skills, experimenting with glazes, finding my groove, and loving every second of the process! The beautiful thing about this process is that my kids totally celebrated my time spent at the wheel. When I would wonder out loud if I should throw clay or do something “more responsible”… they always piped in for the clay “Because you love it, Mom!” I did it just for me. (Though through the process of learning I did accumulate quite a collection — a few of the pieces I’m most proud of are on sale here if you’re interested!)
Brave looked like learning to play the guitar after years of watching it hang on my wall – taunting me with it’s own unspoken potential. I’ve learned the kids love this too (now that I can play a tune)! The younger two hang around quietly listening to the learning process. And I even learned how to play my 2016 theme song! One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. (Click on the photo to view a 10 second video of this song – I was really proud of myself!)
Perhaps the greatest act of bravery took place at the very end of 2016. The choice to forgive. I have allowed unforgiveness to brew and bubble in my heart over the last two years. There came a point in my life when I was made aware of something, and it rocked my soul to the core. It flipped a switch in me of deep anger at the injustice of every hurt, every wound, every moment of rejection. I allowed my anger and my pain to become something I held onto way too tightly. Forgiveness doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt and it doesn’t mean what’s been done was justified. It just means that I’m letting it go. It has taken a LOT of prayer. I’ve found myself forgiving again and again the people and moments that trigger the old feelings of pain. Forgiveness is a choice and it’s one we have to make over and over again until we are free. At the end of my life, I KNOW I would deeply regret holding onto unforgiveness. No matter how many times the old feelings are triggered — I choose not to live in bitterness or regret. That … my friends … is Brave. But I absolutely cannot do it alone — the ONLY way I’m able to forgive is by the power of the Holy Spirit in me. I believe that to my very core. Left to my own devices … I would still be sitting here massaging my right to feel hurt and the unforgiveness that accompanies that.
So … that was 2016 … a good year I think. 🙂
In my next post I’ll share my word for 2017 … it’s related to how I closed out 2016 but it’s not what you think!