December is the time of year where we all start to both reflect on the past and look ahead to the coming year. I use some of this reflection to help choose a word of the year. It’s a word that I can look to and use as a sort of guide to help me get closer to the best version of myself. This year, for whatever reason, I began contemplating more on the month of December than reviewing the year as a whole.
December is a strange paradox of sorts.
It’s a time when my remembering makes me both smile and want to cry. It creates an ache in my heart because I want to go back in time either to relive a moment or redo it. It’s a time of
here and there,
of where I want to be and where I’ve been.
It’s a time of thanksgiving and sadness,
joy and frustration,
togetherness and solitude,
love and loss,
celebration and patient waiting.
As I look back at those memories that make me smile, I sometimes feel like I’m looking at them through rose-colored glasses because they didn’t quite feel like moments that I’d want to remember or even cherish in the future. In many of those moments I felt rushed, or flushed, or even distant because I needed to keep it all together. I wasn’t truly present enough in the moment to notice, to really take in, all of the beauty and joy in that space, even the difficult ones. Maybe especially the difficult ones.
This realization is what helped me to choose my word of the year. This year my word is PRESENT. I want to focus on the moment that I’m experiencing, not yearning for the past or expectant of the future. When I spend my time anywhere but where I am, not only do I lose the experience, but I also take my eye off God.
Last year, I set a goal of meeting with one holy friend each week. When I set it, I was simply looking to create deeper connections with the people in my life who inspire me to be better in a multitude of ways. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. I simply reached out and made the invitation.
These visits stretched my viewpoints, changed my perspective, filled me with joy and laughter, gave me an outlet to share my thoughts. They validated for me the need for friendships. Holy friendships. I came to realize that the people I was meeting with brought Christ to me in some way. These beautiful souls gave me the space to be completely me—messy, joyful emotions and all. There was nothing earth shattering about the conversations, but I always left changed for the better, and somehow, I felt closer to the Lord.
What I’m starting to understand, is that these holy spaces allowed me to be fully human, to completely explore and process every human emotion. Whether I was the one sharing or listening, I was fully participating in the uniquely human experience.
I’ve decided that I will continue to have these coffee dates, but this year I’m hoping to change it up a bit. When I try something new, I usually focus on how the experience will
impact me. When I realized this about myself, I struggled to be ok with it. It seems so selfish, but I like to see, feel, know how an experience impacts me so that I can have better empathy for others who may have the same experience. (Thank you, Holy Spirit, for that revelation and for the friend who helped me to see it!) What will make this year different is that I want to see how I bring Christ to those that I meet with. I won’t be going in with any expectations or agendas. I will simply be present.
We hear so much about letting our light shine because letting Christ’s light shine through us is such an important part of living as God designed us to live. I have trouble sometimes seeing what my light is or even the positive ways it impacts others. I shy away from knowing it because I allow the enemy the space to tell me that to know this about myself would be arrogant or prideful. (UGH! Step Back, Satan!!) I need to make friends with that light inside. It is Christ himself afterall! I need to see it. I want to see it and the positives it brings, or I will never truly use my gifts as God intended.
So, as we end this year looking backwards and forwards, I hope you are able to intentionally allow yourself to be in the moment you are in. To experience each moment fully and deeply, allowing yourself to see how your light touches someone else’s heart.
Wishing you Love and Light!