As those who have been reading my blogs for a long time know, each year I make it a point not only to write out a list of goals, but to choose a word of the year, a simple concept that I can focus on in this calendar year to guide the improvements I want to make in my life. In years past, I’ve had some wonderful words to guide my goal setting and make positive changes:
This year has a tough act to follow. Last year’s goal to submit was an amazing opportunity to grow. I’m in awe of how God worked things out so that I REALLY had to learn this submission thing if I wanted to get out of this year alive. I had to learn to submit to those in authority spiritually and in the world in a major way this year! I also had to learn to take any disappointments and setbacks and submit them to God instead of dwelling on them. Finally, I learned to submit my writing for publication and for public consumption. God was really with me in achieving this goal. So what do I hope to accomplish this year? What’s the word that I hope will develop me even more on this journey?
The word of the year for 2015 is…attendance.
One simple definition of attendance is a record of the number of times a person has been to a certain place. If you want, you can make attendance into a numbers centered thing. I could make this goal about how many times I attend church, get up and study the bible, pray, visit the sick, and so on. But that’s not what this goal is about for me.
I want to use another simple definition of attendance: the act of being present in a place. One thing I noticed last year was that I had a really hard time being in the moment, appreciating the accomplishments that I made, etc. I was always rushing off to the next thing. I wasn’t present for most of my life; rather, I was waiting to get to the next goal, to reach some other pinnacle. I was waiting for the next thing to happen, or actively pursuing the next thing. In doing a year end review, I realized how many things I simply missed because mentally I was somewhere else. So one purpose of this goal is to adjust my focus so that I am present in each moment this year.
But there’s more. I want to attend things, or be at certain places consistently, and I want to be present in the moment, but there’s another part to this goal. A couple other definitions of attend: to apply the mind or pay attention; heed, and; to direct one’s attention. I’ve spent entirely to much of 2014 attending everyone else’s life and leaving my own unattended. I spent a lot of time focused on what others did to achieve success in different areas of their lives and trying to replicate it in my life without actually giving my attention to my life. Occasionally I would see my life clearly and note that I needed to work on something or change it, but then my mind was consumed with something else and I never got around to doing anything about it. This year, I want to be where I’m expected to be, be present in mind as well as in body, and apply my mind and direct my attention where it needs to be. In short, it’s time for me to show up in my own life and participate in that instead of being an audience member in everyone else’s life.
So what’s your word of the year for 2015? What are you trying to change in this new year?