It is that time of the year when my thoughts turn towards the new year to come, the goals I want to strive for and the growth I desire to see in my life. My theme for 2016 was “Alive!” based in great part on this quote:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
Did I come alive in 2016? While I suppose the answer to that question is highly subjective, I think that I can honestly say that I did. Completely? Probably not but every little step is progress. This year has been mostly a good one. I was successful in achieving many of my goals, big and small. Some goals are still works in progress, and that’s okay. There were more highs than lows over the course of the year; however, one of the lows, not actually my own, was intensely emotional and far reaching. I made a couple of big decisions this year: getting a tattoo and changing jobs. I have no regrets about either decision, because both were firmly based on what makes me come alive.
I am on a journey of becoming myself, and I’ve already travelled far and witnessed amazing sights along the way. And yet, this journey requires perpetual motion. I cannot ever stop and claim to have arrived at my final destination. Life doesn’t quite work like that. I have noticed a persistent thread of thought within me that needs to be tugged on and unravelled, and this has inspired my theme for 2017.
You see, as much as my self-confidence has grown over the past few years, the truth is that there are still areas where my self-confidence is low, shaky, possibly even non-existent. There are some compliments that I am not comfortable accepting, so I will scoff, laugh nervously, or flat out refuse to accept or believe them. Even if I appear to accept such a compliment, often my inner thoughts are hard at work refuting, denying, and listing all the reasons why I am not worthy of the compliment.
For all the ways that I have grown and changed, there is still more awaiting me. I have new goals and challenges for the coming year, some big some small. Some with specific time frames, while others are more about the progress. I want to get stronger, physically and mentally. I want to continue to discover and use my talents and gifts. I want to grow spiritually, relationally, emotionally. I want to be able to take a compliment at face value. Many aspects of my theme likely won’t make a lot of sense to anyone but myself. Really, this theme is much more than a single thread…it is a tangled mess of multiple threads spreading out in every direction but all originating from a single source. Although I may not be able to adequately explain my theme, here are some of the touchstones that form the foundation of my theme:
“She was at once fierce and dedicated, yet quiet and reserved. She was a butterfly, beautiful and powerfully quiet.” ~Valerie Wu
“Without fear, there cannot be courage.” ~Christopher Paolini
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” ~Rumi
“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” ~Rumi
“She was powerful, not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly, despite the fear.” ~Atticus
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7