Julie Lyles Carr: What's in a Word?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's in a Word?

It's taken me in a direction I hadn't necessarily anticipated.

This Word of the Year thing.

At the beginning of 2009, some bloggy friends and I each committed to a 'word for the year', a term that would be our beacon for the things we hoped to accomplish in 2009. We agreed to post about that word at the end of each month and enjoyed creative ideas on how to represent and reflect on that word.

Last year's word for me was excellence.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discipline and practice of getting that word back to the front of my mind for each month's post. It was enlightening to consider what applications and connotations that word held for me.

Some of the blog girlfriends decided to continue the tradition this year.

And I thought I would too.

And now we're into February.

And I haven't posted once about my 2010 word.

Because my 2010 word is already changing how I'm doing some things.

I made a little discovery about myself.

Any word I considered had at its base for me a stream of self-discipline, greater follow-thru, stronger consistency. I'm always striving to do more, get more accomplished, cover all the bases, keep everyone happy.

Yes. An exercise in futility. I'm starting to get it.

Because I just keep cramming more and more activity into my days and then want to complete it all at a higher quality control level.

I chose my word for the year thinking it would embody motivation for all the things on my plate. I thought I could mold and use my term to bend time, improve quality and take on the to-do list.

But now my word is changing me.

My word for 2010 is FOCUS. And to focus is making me repent of my extreme multi-tasking ways.

To focus.

To let go of the need for the adrenaline-packed pace of doing too many things half way.

To purpose to pick and choose with greater care.

And to be strong enough to accept that I won't keep everyone happy all the time.

As if I could anyway.

A precious mentor to me gave me a beautiful letter of encouragement over the Christmas holidays. And one of the things she wrote to me has continued to resonate. She strongly encouraged me to take great care in what assignments I accepted, to bring those options to my Father in prayer, to selectively and prayerfully choose. To go to the buffet. But to really think about what should end up on my tray, what would be healthy, tasty, enjoyable. And to leave the rest back on the steam tables.

Focus.

So I'm singing that phrase. I'm letting go of a few things and being more deliberate with others. I'm working on what to say 'no' to, a difficult practice for me. But when I say 'no' to some options, I'm saying 'yes' to what is most important.

It's amazing how a word can change you.

When you don't try to change the word.

Focus.


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