Taking it Slow
I recently started the tradition of adopting a new word for the new year. I’ve always heard
other people talk about their “word for the year,” and part of me got a little jealous, thinking, “I
want a word too.” So last year, that’s exactly what I did; I spent some time contemplating what
I needed to focus on in the new year and came up with “discern.” Now that might sound like a
strange word to choose; most people choose attractive words like thrive, conquer, grow,
balance, etc. But discern was the exact word I needed. There were many ideas and plans
twirling around in my mind, and I needed to put some to rest while going full throttle on some.
As the weeks and months went by, things became more evident. I felt God saying no to some
things and blessing other things. If you know me, you know I have an all-or-nothing attitude, I’m
not saying it’s healthy, but it’s the truth at times. I want to do everything all at once, or I want
to plant myself on my couch long enough to sprout something. Not only did I need to discern
things, but I also followed the direction God was pulling me towards - that was the more
challenging part. Right around spring/ summer time, I felt a burnout coming, luring right around
the corner, waiting for me to take another hasty step to my fall. And sure enough, that’s exactly
what happened. I realized I needed to say no to things, even if they were good things like
service or fun functions. It wasn’t until a summer vacation with my husband that I was able to
rest and come back recharged and re-energized (this also felt like the first real vacation I had in
about five years, thank God to grandparents babysitting).
Tasting that burnout and knowing what path it would lead me down led me to the word I’ve
chosen for 2022: slow. Yes, another strange word, but one that needs to be put in place to
prevent my life from spiraling out of control. For me, slow means slowing down to appreciate
the little things in life, not just jumping from one task to another. It means waking up to quiet
time with God and not letting that slip day after day. It means putting the electronics away and
paying close attention to my kids, watching their facial expressions, and picking up on the new
words they’re saying. It means doing a few things but doing them well. As some of you know,
I’m expecting our third baby girl in April, and saying things will be crazy would be an
understatement. Motherhood is a juggling act on its own, but add ambition and desire for work
outside the home to it, and it can become quite messy.
Choosing slow for this upcoming year doesn’t mean laziness. I still have a few ambitious goals
I’ve set my mind to and have already started working on. Choosing slow will allow me (or
hopefully force me) to stop the ruthless hurry our society is consistently living in. Unable to
catch our breath from one activity to another, let alone make time for God. That is certainly
something I struggle with and one thing I want to prioritize again this year. I recently read two
books that helped me reshape my thoughts around busyness and being intentionally present:
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer and Present over Perfect by Shauna
Neiquest were much-needed eye-openers. Both books helped put important things into perspective.
John Mark Comer stresses how our hustle culture leads to hurry sickness and burnout. He
provides practical biblical solutions to combating the devil of busyness. Shauna Neiquest is the
kind of gifted writer that speaks to your soul, and I don’t say that about any author. Her writing
is poetic, captivating, and deeply introspective. Her reflections make you evaluate your life and
your priorities. As a busy mom, I could relate to her struggles and understand her need to be
present. I’d be lying if I said these books didn’t influence my word choice for 2022.
What about you? Do you usually pick a word for the new year? Why or why not? And if you do,
what is it this year?
If you need some help figuring out what you want to focus on this new year, I encourage you to
subscribe to my website to download the life assessment I put together. It’s similar to what I
walk my coaching clients through during our first session together. The packet will guide you
through assessing ten areas in your life and figuring out what top three things you want to
focus on and what you must do first. From that exercise, you’ll be able to narrow down to a list
of words and ultimately arrive at your word for 2022. It can also be a longer sentence, phrase,
or even a theme you want to pick rather than a word. Whatever works for you, do it. Do it with
grit and grace. Put God first, and everything will fall into place.
Here’s to a new year! An unpredictable yet exciting new year where growth is awaiting us on
the horizon. I pray that it’s full of spiritual leaps and tested faith that will leave us stronger at
the end of the year.