Last year, I chose a word to guide myself, a word to live by, and that word was Intention.
I tore a page out of an old dictionary with the word on it, and I hung it up on the wall above my computer, and I made it my mission to look at it often, to think about the word, to meditate on it so I could manifest intention in my life.
Did it work?
Well, seeing it displayed so prominently (the word was circled in pen and highlighted in pink) made me think a lot more carefully about some of my choices.
So yes, I think it did help.
I chose a bold word for 2017.
And I did a lot of intentional things last year: I adopted my daughter. I sold my art at craft shows. I wrote and sent out query letters to literary agents. I directed a short play. I kayaked in the ocean.
This year, when I set out to find a word for 2018, I wanted more--though I did live with more intention in 2017, I wanted to push myself to greater things.
But when it came time to choose a word, my Spirit just said wait.
I didn’t want to wait. I hate waiting. I wanted to hurry up and find the perfect word for 2018. (It’s January 18--time is ticking. I’ve spent 18 days without a guiding word.)
I tried on a few words: Hope. Love. Confidence. But none of them felt right.
My Spirit just said wait.
I have never been good at waiting. I love buffets because there’s no waiting. That’s what I have always wanted out of life: an unrestrained, no-holds-barred glut-fest, a feast of whatever I want, whenever I want it, with unlimited drink refills and free dessert, all for one low price.
I am tired of waiting.
So I continued my hunt for the "Word of the Year": Courage. Faith. Redemption.
No, no, no.
Any of those words would be an awesome focus for a year. I would love a year of courage or a year of faith or a year of redemption. But my Spirit just said wait.
I held onto the word Truth for a while, and I thought about telling more of my truth, but as admirable as that is, it still did not sit well with my Spirit.
If not Truth, I thought, then surely Trust.
When I thought about how the word Trust might guide 2018 for me, I realized that I had pretty much stopped trusting in God in 2014.
My faith was once a really precious and beautiful thing to me. It felt unshakeable and sure, only until it wasn’t--2014 was the year I thought that I would see some sort of divine retribution for everything I had lost: I thought I was going to be healed of my epilepsy. I thought I was going to miraculously get pregnant, even though that is a near medical impossibility for us. I thought I was finally going to sell my writing, and that income would replace what I'd lost when I had to leave teaching.
I had expected these things, because I prayed for these things. But it’s 2018, and these things have not yet come to pass.
Every day that passes, that trust is harder and harder to muster, so it was very hard to imagine what a year dedicated to Trust would look like. It would probably look a lot like--
As soon as that divine lightbulb finally turned on in my brain, I found Wait in that same battered dictionary, and I tore out the page: To linger in expectation. To continue in one place. To serve. To await.
I can feel my Spirit smiling. She has been speaking to me all along, and I just wasn't understanding her.
She says that 2018 will be the Year of Waiting.
I don’t exactly want this. I still want my cheap and easy buffet. But my Spirit has shown me that I am already seated at the table, that I have already placed my order, and now, I just need to wait.