Have you ever chosen a quote to guide your thoughts for a year? I highly recommend NOT doing that, unless of course you want it to guide your thoughts for a year. Because the quote inevitably will guide your thoughts for a year and sometimes we’re not ready for what we think we want.
I chose this quote, January 1 2015:
If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve. – Emily Dickenson
The sound of living this way enticed me. It seemed pretty simple, “just go above your nerve and you’ll see what you’re really made of.” Realistically, you (and by you I mean me) get to the point when you don’t even know what or where your nerve is and you aren’t sure if it’s denying you anymore than the ice cream and tortilla chips you ate at 2 am. How the heck are you supposed to know if you’re going above it if you’re not sure where the original elevation of your nerve lived in the first place?
If you’re following this. Welcome home.
If you’re not, what I’m trying to say is that knowing your nerve is just as scary as going above it.
This year I got to know “my nerve” and it was really fun (I hated it sometimes) and I’m really glad (maybe a little bit bitter) that I got to see another layer of me and I’m thankful (I truly am thankful) that I wasn’t ever for a moment alone with my nerve, thank you Jesus.
For the humanity record, I’m not a pro at keeping resolutions. I’m not good at writing them. But this year I did because I found a cute little card to write them on and it limited my wandering mind to five little spaces for five little things. Except little things can sometimes be big things waiting to surprise you.
Basically, this year I picked up my ground zero nerve and introduced her to the elevator called trust, got in and went somewhere. It may have only been to the 2nd or 3rd floor, but we went somewhere and we did something worth doing and it helped me get to know where my nerve likes to live and how to push her out to other places.
Here’s the recap of 2015’s resolutions.
- Be Creative. Creativity sits and waits for us to give it more our time and focus, it asks for determination, effort, and is born among friends who love you when you’re at your most creative (ugly cry face self) to help you push through to getting something done. I respect creativity more after this year. Sort of like how I put parents right up there with all of the saints, now that I know what’s required of them to survive a typical day. I think I created, curated, and collaborated more than I ever have. I thought it would be a super fun hipster thing like writing beautiful words on white card stock with brushed ink every day. But it looked more like my own personal emotionfest, laughter and casual weeping mixed, crashing out on the couch with a dead laptop next to kids and husband who also are exhausted by the creativity. The few that walked with me this year through breakdowns and breakthroughs are the best humans. I am so thankful you were there, that we walked through things (mine and yours) together. On the quest to be more creative I unearthed more grit than I had yesterday, and this.
- Love and trust well. Oooh, this is a tough one, my family and friends get to decide how I did. I feel like I loved a lot and trusted a lot, but maybe it’s not what was communicated often enough? I know I’ll always be growing in the love and trust aisle, always learning that what love really means not just to me but to those I want to love better. Even in the learning I loved hard this year. I trusted beyond where I was comfortable trusting. But I also didn’t love as well as I could have and I also worried and doubted sometimes and need forgiveness every day. Maybe Jesus knew I would (we would) struggle with this? Maybe it’s why he made loving others as we are loving him the thing he wanted us to build our lives on. I am grateful that his perfection speaks louder than my screw ups. I’m keeping this one on the list, because it doesn’t seem right to check it off, ever. “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen
- Just Water for 365 Days. It doesn’t seem real that I have lived nearly an entire year without CAFFEINE. It is possible people. You will not drop dead without coffee. And you have to trust me–this Just Water journey has changed so many conversations and inspired others to try it too. When we start thinking about the clean water we’re drinking and pondering the the fact that so many people live daily without it, it changes things. It motivates people. There are students and young adults all over the world who are becoming advocates for clean water, just because I ordered water for dinner, just because they thought it was different, just because Jesus is like that and can use an average and mundane drink ordering experience to transform hearts and lives and stories. The best part was getting to be a part of little miracles almost everyday. Some of the miracles are right here: Just Water Stories (I am so inspired by these kids–the Church is a beautiful Church.)
- Walk 500 miles. I wanted to do this for the nearly 1 billion people living without safe water. I finished early and then promised to walk 500 more which was totally insane considering the a good chunk of the second half of my year was spent abroad. I blame the Proclaimers. (My dog Marley just yawned and passed out as I typed that, she can read my mind and is exhausted just thinking about trying to walk a mile down the street, I’m so glad she is on my team). But just when I realized how silly it was to think I could fit in another 500 miles in, Jesus prompted a girl named Kate from Oklahoma to offer her marathon training to me so I could meet my goal! Not only did she walk (run) the miles but she started a clean water campaign of her own. And is changing lives, with every step she takes. If you have an extra $5, you should throw it her way. Kate, you are an amazing world changer and I love you. Bonus: I ended up walking the extra 500! I thought I couldn’t, but it turns out I did a lot more airport terminal walking that I thought I would be doing (over 200 smells like Auntie Anne’s Pretzels miles).
- Embody strength, beauty, Jesus. This is another one of those “how in the world do you measure it” goals. But I think I did my best to be strong. Even when this year I felt more like a wilted sapling than a robust redwood. Silver lining: I had a great place to tap into the source of power that I had grown so accustomed to using only when I needed it. I don’t want to grow in my faith just because I’m hitting a wall. I want to live like I believe that my life hidden in Jesus is better than my life hidden in fear. Becoming beauty meant becoming less consumed with what I wanted and more focused on what others needed. Even if I didn’t get the next steps right, I’m seeing more clearly what others around me need and trying my best to respond and help without hurting. And , becoming more like Jesus wasn’t this flashy fairy godmother moment, it was more like a humble pile of tears on the floor where I thanked him for a year that helped me get to know him more.
Going above your nerve isn’t always easy to define. But now I think I know where going above it begins. Emily was seeing on a an ink stained page a way of life where we are doing more of the thing we want to do but think we can’t do, even if it scares the living daylights out of you.
Even when it hurts like hell I’ll praise you. – Even When It Hurts, Hillsong United
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:11-14