Happy happy new year! It’s officially 2018 and the general consensus is that this year is going to be one for the books. January 1 is the perfect opportunity to declare, with intention, what your focus for the year will be. I like to do this in the form of choosing a word that encompasses this focus and directs my steps as the days unfold. A north star, of sorts.
Choosing a word isn’t something I do arbitrarily, it’s actually something I like to pray about. The reason being, I know that a word that comes from God has much more authority over my life than a word I come up with on my own and try to adhere to.
If you’re not familiar with talking to God this might sound a bit weird. Even if you’re comfortable with prayer, sometimes knowing how to listen to God’s response can be tricky. Yet, if you’re thinking about declaring a word over your life this year, I encourage you to try to get it from the source.
This will look something like closing your eyes and trying to quiet your mind a bit, then asking God to tell you what word He has for you this year. Sit for a minute, and try to listen. Write down the word you hear and your thoughts about it. It should resonate with you, make sense in an intuitive way.
In 2016, my world was integrity. I based all of my decisions on that one little word. Were my choices compromising my principles? Was I being true to myself? Could I, with integrity, say I was following God’s call for my life? I spent most of that year on tour and in a long distance relationship and integrity was the key to keeping both together. It was also the key to letting both go.
Come 2017, my word was follow through. Truthfully, I was annoyed by that word. First of all, it’s two words. Second of all, who wants to declare “follow through” over their life? To be honest it felt like I was messing up my “follow through” all year. I’m the worst at texting back. I read emails and completely forget to reply. And, as a whole, I can let weeks or months go by before checking in with old friends to see how they are doing.
It’s actually not until now, reflecting back on the year, that I realize what I was actually following through with. For those of you who have been with me all these months, you know I launched this blog a year ago in January (the 7th to be exact).
Now, this isn’t my first blog. No, that one was called Run. Y? On Faith and it was launched in 2007, when I had just moved to LA, was living on a hot pink air mattress, and was obsessed with hiking Runyon Canyon. (insert facepalm emoji).
After that came The Art of Chasing Your Dreams, which had a decent run. At that point (… 2010?), blogging was like online journaling and who was I to break the mold. My posts read like mindful journal entries and paved the way for how I write today. I have no idea how many people actually read my blog. Probably my FB friends (shout out to my OG readers! I see you.) Monetizing wasn’t a thing, at least not for me. I’m sure I was too busy balancing five jobs.
Ah, and then, in 2015, came Haute as Hello (name borrowed from a coral shade of nail polish… not a lot of promise at the onset). Though this blog documented the New York stage of my life, and for that reason, I will always reflect on it fondly.
I wrote about such things as museum visits, book reviews, current playlists (#musicmonday), setting a budget — ha!, and occasional reflections on life. I was much more cultured. My social media avatar was a photo of a lemur in leaves. A photo I took, nonetheless, while hanging out with Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands. See? Cultured.
Yet all of those blogs have something in common: I lost interest and they fizzled. It wasn’t that I didn’t love writing them, I very much did. I launched three after all, and that’s not even counting my emo musings on myspace. No, it was that I didn’t have a clear vision for them when I launched. I thought I did, but when it came down to it, my heart wasn’t in it for anything more than a hobby.
It wasn’t until 2017, the year of follow-through (ah, one word that way, I see it now) that I launched a blog I had put quite a bit of thought into beforehand. Lots of, ahem, intention. It goes back to 2016 when the “seed” of this blog was planted. I was in Nashville having a rather philosophical conversation with my friend about how I was basically not living up to my potential. He thought I needed to think bigger.
After that conversation, I wrote a letter to my boyfriend at the time about all the ideas I had and after about 4 solid pages I realized I was on to something. A month later, the stirring in my soul was confirmed by my Grandma who told me, before she passed away that week, that I should have been a writer.
By August 2016 I began laying the groundwork — aka, writing down a million (mostly awful) ideas, drawing my website out on paper over and over, and browsing Pinterest endlessly for branding inspiration. After months and months of planning, I finally launched love lulu.
And then, the fear set in. What if I’m not good enough to be a writer? Or if I run out of things to talk about? What if people hate the name? Or if I can’t pull this off as a career? How do you even make money blogging anyway?
The question that didn’t occur to me was “what if I lose interest?” because I felt it, somewhere deep down, that I wouldn’t get bored of this one. This blog felt more like a calling, as if the other blogs had led up to it. It aligned with who I am on so many levels, who I’ve grown to be. It was alive with purpose, and I could feel it. People could tell when I talked about it.
So I put my head down. Fought through the fear as best as I could, and focused. Little by little, I learned how to blog consistently, how to market myself, how to pitch, how to connect with my audience. When my schedule started demanding I prioritize it, I started learning how to say no, how to set boundaries for my time, how to schedule my priorities instead — namely, my blog.
As a result, my blog grew, my voice became discernable, both to my audience and to myself, and slowly but surely my following climbed to respectable (monetizable) numbers. I am now a week shy of my one-year anniversary and basking in the glow of being my own boss. I mean, I’m not yet contributing to my own 401K or anything, but there’s promise. A whole lot of promise.
Show up. Stick with it. Follow through. That’s what it meant. See why I ask God? Left to my own endeavors my word would have been “joy” or something. (Which, no offense if that ends up being your word, clearly you’re in for an amazing year. I’m just saying, I would have missed the boat). Which brings us to the present. 2018. Word of the Year.
At this point, I feel like a drumroll is in order. Or at the very least, once I announce it, someone should present me with an inscribed plaque that I can hang on the wall to remind myself of where to fix my attention this year. And that God cares about the details of my life (and yours, too, btw).
Yet, despite the lack of fanfare, I’ll proceed in sharing with you the word God’s put on my heart for 2018 — trust. I’m taking it to mean trusting in Him fully. I realize that may mean exchanging my plans for His, letting go of expectations, timelines, control, and frustration stemming from lack. Focusing on His word, His promises, and renewing my mind when it starts to stray.
I have a feeling it will be a lot easier said than done. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a post a year from now and there will be some sort of plot twist on what the word actually means. Perhaps it’ll be about trust in a relationship, or maybe I’m inheriting a trust from a distant relative I never met. That would be nice, too.
For now, we’ll consider this a cliffhanger and you (and I) will just have to stay tuned. In the meantime, you can chat with God about your word, and let me know what he tells you in the comments (I’m nosy like that).
What’s your word for 2018?
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