Have you heard of the One Little Word idea? It was started several years ago by the one and only Ali Edwards. The idea is to choose one word to be your focus for the year ahead. One word that defines what you would like to do or who you’d like to become, how you’d like to change, etc. You can read more about it on Ali’s blog.
I always thought it was a fascinating concept. There was even a year or two I halfheartedly chose a word, but I never really dove into it. But I think it can be powerful.
This year I did choose a word for myself, after much thought. And yesterday I sat down and created this little piece that will hang in my craft space to remind me all year long.
So, what’s my One Little Word? I have chosen the word “Me”. Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking I’m somewhat of a narcissist for choosing the word “me”. Heaven knows we have too many people fixated on themselves already in our society. Why else would “selfie” be the word of the year for 2013? Although I admit I do tend to be rather selfish way too often, I hope I can explain a bit my reasoning behind the word I picked. This post could get a bit lengthy, and I apologize in advance. but I feel like I have to explain the story behind this word, so bear with me, if you will.
In order to really explain, I have to go back to this book:
I began reading this book about 2 months ago. With little time to read, I’d sneak in a few minutes here and there. I think it would be fairly safe to say that this book impacted my life more than any other book I have ever read, besides the Bible, of course. My copy is underlined in places, and many pages are dog-eared, marking the spots I want to go back and reread again. I found this quote recently that really sums up what is at the heart of the message of this book:
Life is art. Yes. I love that!
The book talks about discovering the person that God had in mind when he created you and me. What is your art? What is mine? What is the thing that excites you? What are you passionate about? What did you enjoy doing as a child?
As I thought about it, I recalled that throughout my childhood I was always, always creating something. Drawings. Clothes for my little dolls, etc. etc. I love to create. It’s not just something I do. It’s part of who I am. I don’t believe it’s an accident. Or something I’ve just come by. I believe it’s a gift from the creative heart of God to me. It’s the area of my life where I feel the most connected to Him.
But while this book really spoke volumes to me in so many ways, it also brought some confusion. For a while, anyway. I know I love to create, and for several years now I’ve found my creative voice in my blog. This is the outlet I have chosen to release my art to the world. But what if there was something else God had in mind for me? What if pouring myself into this wasn’t part of His plan for me? What if I’m spending my time and energy on the wrong thing?
I mentioned in my last post that there was something besides just being busy that kept me from blogging over the past several weeks. Yes, I really didn’t have any time to blog, but one finds the time to do what one really wants to do, wouldn’t you agree? And the the thought that I might be spending time doing something that wasn’t what God had for me had me frozen. The longing and desire of my heart is to be right smack dab in the center of His will. And even though I prayed for clarity, for Him to show me which way to go, I wasn’t really getting any answers. God was being annoyingly silent.
And part of the reason for my confusion and my hesitancy to move forward was fear. You see, at the beginning of last year I was all set to move forward in a big way with this blog. I had ideas, dreams, plans. I was set to go, and excited about it. But then? My mom passed away and my world tuned upside down for a while. Things came to a grinding halt in regards to any more plans and dreams. They got stored away. Then life got hectic. I coordinated a wedding, the kids were winding down with lots of end of the year events, then came summer. And the summer is usually really full and busy for us, so I figured the fall would be a great time to focus again on my plans. Then fall came, and my dad had health issues that took lots of my time and energy, and most days I was emotionally spent. And my world tuned upside down again.
So you, see, It seemed like whenever I headed in the direction I thought I was supposed to go, God just shut the door in my face. Maybe now you can understand my confusion and hesitancy to believe that this was the place God wanted me to be. And I struggled and wrestled with these thoughts and feelings almost constantly over the past few weeks.
Then, you know, God just shows up sometimes. Usually it’s in a quiet whisper. And I’ve come to the place of really trying to stop and listen when I hear those quiet whispers. Eric and I and our boys were strolling through a local art gallery. As I walked and admired all the art swirling around me. That’s when I heard it. A question from deep down in my soul. “Brenda, what is it that makes you come alive?” And my answer was art. Art makes me come alive. The colors. The textures. The creative minds of others. It all inspires me and brings a level of excitement to my heart that nothing else does. The next quiet whisper I heard was “You should do what makes you come alive.” I feel it so much that it makes me cry just to write this. The whispers of God will do that to you. Because they go right to the heart of your very being. And that the God of the universe cares about this. About me. It’s too wonderful for me to comprehend.
So, how does that all tie into my One Little Word? Through my journey through this book, I’ve come to the realization that God has created me for a specific purpose. It may not be for something the world would deem grand and wonderful, but my life is meant to be lived as art. As an offering to Him. That He loves the ME He has created. I’ve spent many years of my life not really liking me. Wishing God had created me differently. I was too much this. Not enough that. I felt like my ideas and opinions were less important than others. Mostly because others usually can state their opinions more clearly than I can. Or say what they mean to say more loudly. Or can formulate their words in a more engaging manner.
Me? I’m quiet. I’m not a great conversationalist. I’m awkward sometimes. I don’t really know that much about many things. I mess up a lot. But this book helped me to see that God wants me. In all my imperfections and things I wish were different about me. He wants me to offer up to Him all that I am. All that I am not. To live fully as myself . To wish He had created me differently is a slap in the face of the one who so lovingly imagined me into being. That’s not to say that I just accept the parts of me that are less than lovely. I believe there is always room for improvement. To chip away at the bad habits, the wrong attitudes. Those things are not me. They are the sin in me. We should never excuse and settle for the sin in our lives. God wants more for us than that. And here’s a secret. The more I give myself to God, the more “me” I become.
So this word is serving as a reminder to live a beautiful life. To find out who God really meant for ME to be. To live authentically as ME. To be boldly, unapologetically ME.
So, what does that mean for my blog? Well, truthfully, I’m not entirely sure. But it does mean that I’ll continue to be here. I feel like it’s right this time. But my focus has changed. Instead of doing things just for the sake of a blog and trying to make it bigger and better, more readers, more this, more that. My focus will be on Me. I know, that sounds awfully self -centered again. But I don’t want this place to become something I feel like I have to do. A performance. Something I must produce and show up for. I want this place to be the place where I share bits of myself. My art. What excites and interests me. I want this to be a place where God shows up, through me. That means if I’m not passionate about it, you won’t see it here. If I have to force it, it’s not going to happen. If I’m sharing it, it’s because I feel like I should. Will I always be talking about God here? No. Not always. But I can’t really live my art without giving credit to the one who gave me that art in the first place. So yeah, I’ll probably talk about Him from time to time. Probably more than I have in the past.
I hope I’ve been able to make sense through all my ramblings. These thoughts were hard to nail down and formulate into words. And there is probably so much more I could have said. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll just leave you with these few quotes that sum up what’s in my heart right now.
And so, that’s it. That’s my One Little Word and the story behind it. Do you have a One Little Word? I’d love to hear your thoughts on One Little Word, or this blog post, in particular. I hope I have inspired you in some way to dig deeper and become more you than you have ever been. Care to share the journey with me?