I’ve been thinking a lot about my One Word for 2015 as I prepare for my One Word in 2016. I already know what my One Word for 2016 will be (I posted a little about that a few posts back and will post more once 2016 actually hits), but I’m trying to not forget 2015 yet and to look at what I learned.
I started the year with these words:
“This is going to be a great year, but it is going to be a scary year. I have dreams that scare me. I have people I want to help. I have goodness to spread. I have family to love. I have diem to carpe.”
“This year my One Word is Build. I want to build my confidence. I want to build up the strength of my family. I want to build and buoy up the Young Women program in our ward and stake. I want to build my faith in Christ. I want to build up the world with goodness. I want to build.”
“Build” a weird word to report on though. It’s a weird word to reflect upon. I could come up with a list of “I did this, and built that, and accomplished these” but that’s not really what this word was about. Asking “What have I built” is the wrong question to reflect on when looking at 2015, even though “What can I build?” was the question I started the year with.
Looking back I’m realizing that build was the theme for this year because I needed a foundation. You cannot build a house without first laying a foundation down.
The year started out looking rosy with all my intentions, but by mid-March and April I felt like everything, every single thing, had crumbled around me and there wasn’t a thing I could do. So when you hit what feels like the bottom, you can either sit there and wallow or you can build something to climb out of the hole. Oh, believe me, I wallowed for a little while. I nearly gave up on a number of things.
Thankfully I got tired of wallowing and got to work slowly, bit by bit. I realized I needed to start with the bottom and work my way up, and at the bottom of my pit, was me. I couldn’t change the Young Women program, I couldn’t change my family, I couldn’t change God, I couldn’t change anything beyond myself. So that’s what I started with. The foundation within me.
And nothing changed…at least not immediately.
And that is why mid year I thought there was no progress with this One Word and that maybe I’d picked the wrong word. But now, adding many more months to the work I see change and progress. I see that my life isn’t one foundation with one building going up. It’s a whole city. Some areas of the city will develop faster than others, to be able to help support other areas. I see areas of my life that are stronger and which now I could start to build upon. I see areas of my city that have already been able to lay foundations and carry small loads. There are still lots in my little inner city being prepared for foundations, some lots have foundations being laid, cured, compacted, and relaid…areas I hope will someday support full buildings, but this “city” that is being built is not perfect and it doesn’t all go up at one time.
How’s that for a weird analogy. But when I look at my life as a developing city I realize that there isn’t going to be instantaneous progress anywhere and that if I let one area deteriorate it affects the areas surrounding it. Building takes time, it takes patience, it takes re-building sometimes, and it takes a lot of bravery.
God has done a lot of work on me this year. I’m not completely the same person I was at the beginning of the year, which is how I think it is supposed to be. I feel stronger in areas, but I have work yet to do (many many years of work). I have moments of despair where I can be found sitting on the kitchen floor crying because I feel defeated, frustrated, and unsure. To be honest, there is always a small stream of fear and uncertainty running in the back of my mind that goes along the lines of “Can I do this? How do I do this? How do I go forward?” As with most things in life, God is not giving me all the answers right away. Sometimes he illuminates a foot or two of the path and other times he asks me to step into the darkness in faith, working without knowing what is ahead, only trusting that He does know.
Four of the graphics I posted at the beginning of the year mean so much more now than they did then. They have come to life for me. These 4 graphics really help to sum up my year of learning to build.
With my 2016 One Word already picked, I’m seeing why Build was so important. I need foundations to work on. I needed the faith to build. I needed to put in work. I needed to set up a clear place to stand.
God knows what he’s doing. He directed me to this theme, and even when I thought I wasn’t learning anything about it in life, he was teaching me lessons I didn’t know I was taking. I’m grateful for this past year. I’m grateful for the trials I went though. I didn’t enjoy them. I don’t want to repeat them. But I see some ways that they have helped me to grow. I see ways they have helped to build me.
And that, come to find out, was the theme for the year. Not “What can I build?” but “What does God want to build in me?”.