WORDS HOLD POWER.
In a previous post, I shared my belief that words hold power, and also let you in on some of the ways words have impacted my life: for the good, as well as the bad. If you haven’t had a chance to check out my previous post, read more about that here: Words Hold Power (Part 1): Your Words Impact Your Destiny.
Words (influenced by beliefs and thoughts) are so powerful, in fact, that they can influence our actions, and ultimately determine our destinies. My past experiences have shown me how words have the power to bring affliction and destruction into my life; and conversely, how it is possible to harness the power of words to encourage healing, growth, love, self-compassion, empowerment, and other very, very good things. 🙂
Words, when used rightly, have the POWER TO CHANGE ONE’S LIFE FOR THE BETTER AND TO SET ONESELF FREE FROM BONDAGE.
Given my history with words and their powerful impact on my life, it has become part of my intention setting practice to select a “word of the year.” An overarching principle that guides my days: a word that serves as the bloodline, the heartbeat of the year ahead. A word to purpose and guide my days in the year ahead.
If you have interest in reading more about my New Year’s intention setting process, I discuss this in more detail in the following blog post: 5 Steps to a Purpose-Driven New Year.
To also learn from my own past goal flops and avoid making the same mistakes, see also my post onNew Year’s Resolutions: Fatal Flaws that Encourage “Flops”.
Avoid the Anxiety: Focus on a Word that Serves You in the “Now”
Knowing from my own personal experience the power words can have, I spent quite a bit of time stewing, pondering, reflecting. It started out as an effort to mindfully reflect on the year past, envision my intentions for the future through the lens of my passions and God’s calling on my heart, and seek to receive God’s direction as I planned out my goals for the year ahead.
However, my planner mindset soon caused me to put extreme emphasis on this “very important endeavor,” and the exercise transformed into one of stress and obsession. My desire to control my future, plan for potential outcomes, and avoid making mistakes at all costs caused me to be swept up into a panic.
I’m about to take off the mask and share with you some of the anxious thoughts that bombarded my mind as I set out to pick my word for 2019. Now, I know it may feel a bit off tangent: perhaps you feel as if I’m drawing this out and find yourself thinking, “Just get to the point, Rachael! Share your word, share the steps you followed, and get on with it!”
But stay with me, friend. Remember, life is a journey to be lived and experienced, not a race to be won. For much of my life, I “thought my way through life” and believed I didn’t have time for feelings. I believed feelings only held me back and were merely an unwanted “interruption” to my ability to be most productive.
And so, in the past, I pushed down my feelings so I could “clear my head” and “think logically.” My goals were achievement-driven and set by head logic. However, over time, I’ve learned how incredibly important it is to feel our feelings, receive the wisdom and guidance our hearts and souls are trying to tell us, and learn the lessons our emotions are trying to teach us. I’ve learned how incredibly important it is to remain awake to our internal worlds: instead of allowing our minds to dominate, it’s vital we involve both our heads as well as hearts in making plans for the future.
And so, instead of just jumping right into revealing my word of 2019 and walking you through the 5 step process you can use to guide you in your selection of your own “word of the year, I wanted to welcome you into this aspect of my endeavor to find a word for 2019.
Why? Because I want to be transparent. Because my heart, my feelings, my emotions were as much a part of the journey as was my mind.
I want you to see how anxiety was a part of this process for me…and how it was actually used for good. As I allowed the anxiety I felt to “just be” and sought to understand it (rather than run from it…a habitual pattern of my past), it offered me further insight into my thoughts, feelings, and fears, provided me with a valuable lesson, and brought me back to truth.
I want to share this aspect of my emotional journey with you to encourage you to involve your own heart in your goal-setting endeavors. Our hearts, after all, are wonderful compasses.
I also wanted to shine the light on the anxiety I felt, so you can perhaps avoid some of the unexpected stress and anxiety I experienced in my own effort to find a word that served me. Particularly if you are one who has perfectionistic tendencies and an over-achievement-oriented mindset, like me.
So here I go…here’s a glimpse into what was going on in my internal world as I went about honing in on a word to serve as my “word of 2019.”
Swirling, Twirling Tornado of Unsettling Questions
As I went through the exercise of considering various words and trying to settle in on one word for 2019, many anxious thoughts bombarded my mind:
- “What if I pick the wrong word? What if as the year begins to unfold, I discover there’s a better word for 2019?”
- “What if I am unintentionally taking the reigns on my life and predetermining a word that was not what God has planned for me?”
- “What’s ahead for me? What am I going to do with 2019? Where am I going? What if I’m not headed in the right direction?”
- “Oh I know, ____ word really sticks out to me. But what about ____ word? Ooooo, or ____ word? Ohhhh, the word my friend just picked is so good: what about ____? Or wait, the podcast I just listened to mentioned ____ word, which is much better than the ones I was considering at first. Oh no, how will I choose!? What if I commit to a word and I find a better one that’s more fitting?”
I could feel my thoughts buzzing as various words and questions swarmed my mind. I was caught up in a hairy mess as I tried to select the “right” word. My perfectionism convinced me it was “do or die” – as if the word selected would be “set in stone” and obviously determine the outcome of 2019.
I could sense my anxiety telling me to “forget it, just give up…this is stupid.”
The Holy Spirit led me back to my intuitive Wise Self, reminding me this was supposed to be a life-giving exercise. The way I was anxiously freaking out about a silly little word was not life-giving. It was life-sucking. And, oh yeah: that’s right, I’m not the one who needs to control my future. That’s God’s job: to direct my path and provide instruction as I live my life, one day at a time. His ways are much higher and better than my ways…I would be foolish not to let Him lead.
My Wise Self decided to consult with God and seek out His help, which caused me to challenge my Anxious Self instead of merely throwing my hands up in defeat and seeking the comfort of some other distraction. Yes, it was true that anxiety had taken over the reigns for a bit and my perfectionistic mindset was trying to get the best of me as I was trying to seek a word to serve as a guiding post through 2019. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a healthy exercise worth doing. So I yanked back the reigns from my anxiety and gave them over to God, asking for His help as I sought out to settle in on a word for 2019.
In prayer, He directed my heart and mind to my friend, Lisette – a soul sister, a wise friend I love dearly. Lisette and I connect almost daily: our friendship is one I cherish and has brought me so much encouragement and joy over the years. She, too, was selecting a word for 2019.
I listened to Lisette reveal her word for the year. My soul breathed a deep sigh of relief and my spirit was refreshed as I listened to her describe the thought process that had led her to settle on, and stand by, the word she had chosen.
What stood out to me? Her ease in expressing that after settling on a word, there are others she heard that perhaps she liked better. But she casually shrugged those other words off. She was standing by the word she had chosen. Her heart knew it was fitting for the season in which she found herself right now. And that was good enough for her.
I thought, “Wow, this is what I want.” I wanted to embody the calm Lisette had chosen to step into. As she shared her experience with me, I could sense how she held her word with unclenched, open hands. She selected a word that served her at this moment – here in the present. Knowing full well, that there could very well be additional words that would have meaning to her throughout the year. It was as if she was admitting to not have all the answers, and allowing things to change as the future unfolds.
After listening to Lisette’s message, I welcomed in the calm I had seen unfold in her own story, determined to live that out in my own life as well.
More peace, more trust, more surrender.
As you embark upon your own journey of trying to select a word to guide the year ahead, I want to encourage you to embody peace, trust, and surrender. If you find yourself white-knuckling the reigns of your future like I had been: release them! Breath in a deep breathe of peace, and exhale all stress, my friend!
Learn a lesson from my lived experience. If you feel the heavy burden of anxiety starting to weigh you down (during this word selection process…or any other moment in the days ahead): acknowledge your thoughts, your feelings, your fears, your desire to control the outcome of the days ahead…then take a deep breath…and surrender your fears of the unknown, acknowledge your trust in the God who holds your future, and welcome in peace.
Surround yourself in affirmations: I’m willing to let go of all my fears; I entrust my future to the Lord; I see endless possibilities of good in my future; all is well; God sees me and my struggles and He is working all things for good; I trust you, Lord.
Listen to your heart, feel your emotions, and welcome in peace. Refuse the urge to let your mind dominate this process, and allow your heart to inform your goals and point you in the right direction.
You’re Turn! Let’s Get this Process Started!
All right, my friend. Ready to get started and find a “word of the year” for yourself?
As you begin this process to select your own word for the year ahead, remember to arm yourself with positivity, peace, and trust. If you start to feel anxiety, fear, or over-whelm start to tap you on the shoulder, that’s just fine. Acknowledge those feelings and hear what they are trying to say to you; but don’t let those feelings take reign, put you in a choke-hold, or immobilize you completely.
And oh yeah, try to relax and have some fun. This is intended to be an empowering and life-giving exercise, after all.
OK, so now that that’s covered…how about we jump into some head-and-heart planning to find a word that will serve you in the year to come?
Head on over to my next blog post, wherein I provide 5 Steps to Select a Word of the Year to guide your efforts.
Whenever you’re ready…let’s get started. 🙂