January brings with it the desire to reset, start afresh, wipe the slate clean. It’s an opportunity to sit down, review goals and aspirations, and map out some actionable steps. While I’m not a huge new year’s resolution fan, I do appreciate the invitation to dream big and look ahead with anticipation.
And while each of these things is good, healthy even, there’s a simple practice that has been more life-giving to me than resolution-keeping ever could be. It’s the act of choosing one word for the year, just a one-word theme to serve as a banner for the days and weeks that make up the messy, beautiful space of these 12 months. (See my word for 2014 here.) This one-word theme is simpler, gentler, than planning and goal-setting. Instead of checklists or strikethroughs on various actionable steps, it’s a continuous thread that runs through each day, binding the rising of the sun each morning to the setting of it each evening with a quiet, humble consistency.
For the past six to eight weeks as I’ve thought about this word, there has been one that has echoed softly, yet assertively through my mind. One word that wouldn’t let me go; one word that whispered in both the hushed moments and the busy hustle of going, doing, being.
Just be STILL …
Stillness in my schedule and stillness in my spirit. I’m not talking about a ceasing of activity or a complete putting-away of busyness. Rather, I long for a stillness that takes root in my heart and then overflows to transform and order the hours of my days.
Because I’m tired of managing everything yet gaining nothing, tired of being here yet not being present. I want to quiet the noises in my head enough to hear the inquisitive questions of my kids; I want to put aside the tyranny of the urgent to make time for the more important; I want to still the chaos in my heart to rest in the peace of Him. Because when I rest in His peace, when I listen for His voice, certain things fall away and others come more fully into the light. Anxiety, fear, worry, hectic chaos, endless activity with little result … those things shrink when I’m simply still before Him. I find that my time expands, my spirit rests, my activities bear significance, and my conversations are rich with meaning.
So my word for 2015 is STILL. And although I don’t entirely know what that looks like from a practical standpoint, I’m excited to see and anxious to learn. In some ways, I think it may mean a paring down of certain things and a cleaning-up of others. I want stillness in my heart and stillness in my home, which may mean a move toward more simplicity, a weeding out of excess stuff. I also think it may necessitate a shift in my online habits, because when I’m tethered to my phone, constantly receiving messages, headlines, status updates, it all reverberates as loud, chaotic noise.
But more than anything, it means a commitment to spending some time still before the Lord. Whether that’s an early morning wake-up call, 20 minutes in the afternoon for a bit of scripture reading, or intentional worship played throughout the day, I just want more time with Him.
I want to still my heart so I can let Him fill it.
I’ll likely be exploring more of this theme right here throughout the year, including ideas and insights on how to cultivate a heart of stillness in the midst of a busy family. What does it look like to be still when you’re a busy mom? I don’t know yet, but I’d love it if we discovered the keys to a soul stillness together!
What about you? Do you have a word for 2015? Share your word in the comments, or over on the F&C Facebook page!
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