“She sits still before the Lord.” – Psalm 37:7
Last year I was introduced to the idea of choosing a word to live by for the year. We talk about resolutions and goals, but I think of this as more of a heart and soul work. The idea is to pick a word that represents how you’d like to live your life moving forward into the coming year; something that trickles down into many areas of your life.
Last year, it was obvious to me that I wanted to focus on being more “present” – and that was my word for 2017. I’ll admit I started out strong and faded a bit, as we always do. I was much more intentional with my time, my distractions and not multitasking the day away. Practically, this meant I put down my phone and devices more, I focused on getting more sleep and quiet time, and I made a concerted effort to give my kids and husband more of my full attention.
It was amazing how quickly I felt different. There is a calmness and peacefulness that takes over when you make small changes toward intentional living. Days run smoother, patience and energy run more neutral, and we find more rest at the end of our days. I know all this, we all know all this, but doing it is another thing.
Before long, I found myself slipping back into my old ways. Confusing busyness with productivity. Doing ten things at once, instead of giving one task or person real attentiveness. The problem is that our world is moving faster than ever. We have so many distractions and expectations that we put on ourself (hello Christmas season – why do we try to do all of the things??). I think the only way to combat it is to keep resetting.
So my word to live by for this year is “still”. Yep, very similar to last year because growth is constant and never finished. Upon reflection I realized that I surround myself with so much noise. With three kids I am constantly moving in different directions, and I’m just easily distracted in general. But I also add to it with podcasts, music, tv, social media, etc. I can’t remember the last time I drove in the car or made dinner without a podcast going or music playing. When I am laying with my daughter at night after I have tucked her in, I’m checking my emails on my phone. I ping between different things all day long because moms just get it done.
My goal in practicing more stillness in my life is not to do less, but to give myself periods of stillness in between all the coming and going and doing. Ever notice how the woman in the house sets the tone for the group? We can’t serve from an empty cup. My plan is to start a few new habits throughout the day to promote more moments of stillness. Driving kids to school with no radio on, so I can talk to them or just ride in silence. Daily meditation and focused prayer. Jogs without music or podcasts filling my ears. A quiet cup of tea before I pick up the kids. Sticking my phone in the drawer for the afternoon. Any other ideas for me dear readers?
I encourage you to also pick a word for the year. You’ll be surprised at how often you will consider the word of your choice throughout your day, and throughout the year. Small changes have a way of turning into big changes, even if you have to hit reset next year 😉