And the word to guide me through 2016 is…

Two years ago at this time, I was frustrated by the degree to which I felt encumbered by my own fear. I decided to dedicate the entire following year–2014–to courage. I often wrote the word on my wrist as a reminder and, even when I didn’t, I thought about it almost everyday. To my surprise, the decision to focus my energy on one word really did help me to be brave in all sorts of ways and situations I wouldn’t have expected myself to be. I learned a ton and felt empowered and alive. I have carried that heightened sense of courage with me ever since.

Last New Years, I decided to dedicate 2015 to the word “patience”–a concept I have struggled with for my entire life. This turned out to be an important, if challenging, choice. 2015 was a difficult year for me–possibly my hardest ever–and my commitment to patience helped me to breathe through the really tough days, weeks, and months. Again, when I needed the reminder, I wrote the word on my wrist, right about my Trinity tattoo. Again I will carry the lesson I’ve learned about courage and patience forward with me into the years to come.

But a new year begins tomorrow and it is time to dedicate myself to a new word. This promises to be a year full of changes: a new job, a big move, new relationships, and a new decade of life. To be honest with you, I’m terrified about all of it and I wanted to find a word that would anchor me on this sea of transition. The obvious choice, I think, is “trust,” but that is the word that underlies my whole life–trust helped me find courage and patience and it will lead me through every year.

Rather that just claiming trust as what will get me through this year, I want a word that will govern how I show up for and live into this year.

A few months ago, my improv class went around the circle and shared somethingwe each wanted to accomplish in our life–something really special and important for us individually. I said “one day, I want to choose the heart thing instead of always just the smart thing.” With so many choices ahead for me this year, this seems important to keep in mind. And so, the word I have chosen to dedicate myself to this year is: LOVE.

I am a person who loves deeply, but I am not always good at showing it, prioritizing it, or doing it well. I want this to be a year when I make choices, as often as possible, based on what leads me toward love. Love for myself, and for others, and for God. I want to be bold enough to say no and turn away from choices that lead me away from love. I want to say yes to love–good, healthy love–every second that I can and in every way that I can. The prospect makes me excited to dive into the coming year.

Life is short and full of things we can’t control, but we can control how we choose to show up and what we dedicate ourselves to. This year, I’m choosing love.

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