It’s been a year since I adopted the word trust as my word of the year, and as I look back I see how much this word has changed my life. Truly. I was hesitant about what having a word to focus on might do. Would it really change anything? Would it be a fruitless experiment in mindfulness?
But it has proven to be, not just soul-opening, but prophetic. 2016 was a year filled with questions and uncertainty and change for me. I needed to trust, and God knew that. No wonder that word popped into my mind as the one to focus on.
Trust has always been an issue for me, especially as it applied to God. I loved God. Followed Him. But trust, that deep kind of soul trust where you close your eyes and take a step because you know somehow that God will just be there…. it wasn’t strong for me. It wavered. I would trust and then I wouldn’t. I would trust and then something would happen that would pull me back to a place where I could not rest.
Clearing the cobwebs.
To be clear, these issues I work through aren’t huge. I’m not sitting here stifled with doubt and inaction like I was as a kid and young adult. But as I have grown, I have also seen the other areas where growth is still needed. I’m cleaning the cobwebs out and trying to be closer to the person God wants me to be. I will never reach that, obviously, but I want to always try because finally, I trust that He will be there to help me.
Truly, I do.
2016 was filled with such highs and lows. Loss seemed to be everywhere for me…. the death of my best friend and maid of honor, the loss of a big client, health issues, and turning 50 all brought tears and pain. About six months into my year of trust I really saw how much this new focus had changed me.
But I know how life works, and when there is loss it is sometimes because I held too tight to certain things. My arms needed to be free to open the things God had placed before me that I had not been able to grasp. I still had the issue of feeling anxious, the hesitancy in giving it all over to God, bouts of self-doubt (and doubting God’s love for me) but these are the moments where trust came into play the most. I would think of that word, think of the meaning behind it, and use it as a guidepost to steer me back to where I needed to be.
Trust influenced my art this year.
I thought about the Bible verses that related to it and incorporated it into paintings that would help me remember that trust was my focus.
As I’ve been thinking about my word for 2017, I had half a mind to keep “trust” once again, to focus on it even more, but another word popped into my brain that seems even more appropriate: embrace.
Once you trust, you have to embrace. Embrace is the act of trusting, played out in everything you do and say and what you show the world.
Yes, “embrace” is something I want to do now.
It’s something I have to do in order to move me further along this journey of learning and experiencing. I want to embrace the lessons, meet the challenges head on, and hold tight to God.
Embrace has been on my mind a lot these last few years. In thinking about my “word” I’ve noticed that it has been there all along in my poetry and art. I dedicated a section to it in my last poetry book, Father’s Eyes, I sectioned the chapters as: The Struggle, The Search, The Surrender, The Embrace. And there it was again: embrace.
So I will. Or at least, I will try. That’s the focus. Embrace takes trust with it and wraps it up into a hug that makes you feel the love right down to your soul.
This year, I created paintings to commemorate my 50th birthday, and one of them seems to perfectly embody the spirit of embracing new things, accepting what can’t be changed, and moving on in a healthy way.
I feel like that’s what embracing really means, to no longer wander in your life but to move forward, accepting certain things, changing other things, and celebrating that every single day is truly a gift.
Are you doing a Word of the Year practice? Doing art projects centered on your word in some way can help you incorporate the meaning of this word more fully into your life. Consider taking my ecourse, Word of the Year Mixed Media Painting.