As has been my tradition for the past few years, once again I am reflecting on the past year and selecting a word to define and focus my intentions for the coming year. I have selected a word that feels a little ambiguous but I always find that it takes shape as we go through the year.
Certainly that was the case for this past year as I chose the word “serve.” My dear friend made me a bracelet to help keep this word at the front of my thoughts–it simply said SERVE. I wore the bracelet on my right wrist and had it constantly before me as I walked through the year.
I cannot remember a greater time of need for virtually everyone I know and for the world. Between CoVid 19 paralyzing us in March through the rest of the year, and the unrest with racial disparity, and the most tumultuous Presidential election, and real, heartbreaking needs in my own family, I have been stretched to offer myself in a hundred ways, to serve, while sometimes tearing my heart at its core as loved ones suffer and deal with difficult circumstances.
One thing I have taken away from this year is simply that serving is pouring your heart into another. To serve is to invest in another’s hardship, and to unite two hearts in purpose and kindness. I also have found such joy in being about others. Places where I certainly could have felt self absorbed, I found practical ways to give purpose to this senseless time. One more beautiful part of the equation this year was finding much of the world’s despair and difficulties were too big for me, and I learned surrender and trust. An inexplainable peace accompanied me. Certainly God was the one Constant as the world teetered on insanity in so much uncertainty. I went about each day doing what I could and letting the rest go, letting small accomplishments be enough. Simplicity was another bonus. As life slowed down in quarantine, much of the peripheral busyness in my life ceased. And I learned I was just fine without it. That opened the door to serve where I previously had been too busy.
I have found that single verbs are especially good words to focus in the year, as they inspire action on my part. So, my word for 2021 will be RENEW. I already see this focus lending new and fresh optimism to areas of my life including my thought processes, my relationships with friends and family, and my spiritual life. Where else it will lead, who knows but the Lord above, whom I pray will lead and guide and show me new paths that grow me and refresh others with renewal and revitalized joy, motivation, and perspective.