New year. New decade. New start. At least it should be. And it is. But for the past couple years I’ve chosen a word of the year. And this year I’ve been struggling to choose one. I feel like I am wasting time. Losing focus. Spinning a bit. Needing a direction.
Last year, my word just came upon me (You can read about that here). Amplify. I played around with other similar words, but as soon as I landed on amplify I knew it was the word. My word. The word that God was asking me to choose. What He was asking me to do, Amplify. Amplify everything. Him especially. And in all things. My writing. My life. My marriage. My family. Make it big. Make it loud. Make it for Him. Crank it up.
But this time, this year, I’ve felt conflicted. No words have been the right fit. If I was just going to pick one, it might be CONNECT. Because I’ve felt kind of detached these past few years. Not completely. But not fully connected either. So I thought maybe it was going to be CONNECT. But something kept telling me – that’s not exactly it. FOCUS. Maybe. ENDURE. Possibly. But those just didn’t completely fit.
Today as I was looking through some possible words, a word just popped out at me.
EMBRACE. Embrace? Embrace. That’s it! Embrace Him. Embrace new things. Embrace change. And embrace people. Literally. Connect with them.
Because already in this new year, this new decade, there has been change. Kind of a big change. Because it has become necessary for our family that I start working again. Outside of our home. And that is going to make life messy. Less controllable. And completely unmastered.
When I was younger I found change fun and exhilarating. As I’ve gotten older, change is not as easy. Not something that I easily accept let alone embrace. But I want to. I need to.
After taking a long break from my career to stay home and raise our kids, and even though we still have one in elementary school, and even if it means spending less time writing, it has become necessary to make a change. So after twenty years at home, I am heading back to the classroom. As a substitute teacher. And my head is spinning. My mind is going in a million directions. I spent the last part of January jumping through dozens of hoops just within the application process. Now I’m trying to plan for all the changes. If I’m honest, I’m trying to keep everything as same as possible. So maybe I’m only semi-embracing the coming change.
The dictionary defines embrace as both holding closely and also accepting/supporting willingly. And I need to do it all. I need to accept change. I need to support these new changes. I need to hold all my people and all the new people I’ll encounter close. I need to wait patiently and see what God has planned for us. Hold His plan closely. Embrace this. Embrace the change. Embrace my family as we’re all processing the newness of this. Embrace my new role.
The very nature of substituting means I will rarely be able to plan for it. I may be called last minute. I may wait all day or all week and not be called at all. It may be a school/classroom I’ve never been to before. There might be lesson plans. There might not. Adapt. Stay flexible. Embrace change. Be open to everything that God might want me to do in any situation.
It is scary. And exhilarating. And exciting. And concerning. It is all those things and more.
“This is God’s Word on the subject: ‘. . . .I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.'” ~Jeremiah 29:10-11
He’s got this. So I can embrace it. He knows what He is doing. So I can embrace it. He has a plan. So I can embrace it. He is giving me hope. So I can embrace it.