Three weeks into the year, and I have my word for 2012. It’s “fearless” – and although I felt led to it early in the process, the deeper idea turned out to be very different than what I was expecting. In fact, when I shared it with my staff at work, one of them said to me (a little incredulously), “I’ve never thought of you as particularly fearful!”
While it is certainly true that I don’t generally walk around acting fearful, I am usually very focused on managing to particular outcomes, or at least preparing myself for every possible outcome so I’m not surprised, or disappointed, or painted into a corner. I don’t just have a Plan B; I usually have a Plan ZZ and everything in between. I tell myself that this is just me being practical, and a planner, and even a “strategic thinker” and to a certain degree, those things are true. But when this behavior applies to every decision in my life – and even some decisions I am not remotely close to having to make – it can be paralyzing. At the very least, it robs me of joy. It’s exhausting to spend so much energy managing every step and every moment.
And it’s rooted in fear.
Last year, I walked through a process of letting God teach me patience, which was my word for 2011. The thing is that when you ask for patience, you’re generally given lots and lots to be patient about, and that was certainly the case for me. It was hard, and there were times I railed against what I was walking through, but in the end, it was all worth it – God brought me face to face with places in my spirit that really needed to be cleaned out, scrubbed and restored, and while that’s not a process I can say is complete, people who know me well have commented on the difference a year makes.
Fearless is going to be a bigger deal, because it’s going to involve changing the way I think and process things, which is fundamentally part of who I have been. That doesn’t mean that it’s part of what God created me to be, so I’m spending time trying to rediscover and cultivate those aspects of myself that are God-breathed. It’s going to be a journey, and will probably take me longer than a year, but it’s going to be a journey worth taking.
One of the things I’m packing for the trip is extra time for creative pursuits. In the four years I’ve been making jewelry, I’ve learned that intense concentration and creative freedom are essential for me. The time I spend in that place is meditative and creates a kind of mental stillness that leaves me refreshed and energized. I suspect that part of retraining myself to think differently is going to involve spending more time there, so I am resolving this year to make that time a priority and be unapologetic about pursuing it.
The other thing I’m trying to pack for the trip is a commitment to obedience – and I’m having a problem folding it up and fitting it in. If I really believe that God has a plan for me that is better than anything I can imagine for myself, I have to stop overthinking everything and just step out when I know he’s calling me to something. Obedience is a tough one, and will probably be the hardest thing I tackle this year.
So here we go… 2012 will be about pursuing God, embracing the creative, and being fearless. I’m looking forward to what comes next.