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The Unexpected Lesson I Learned by Choosing One Word

| written by Erin Salmon | 3 comments

I had never really been one to make serious New Year’s resolutions and stick to them. In the back of my mind, I had the quintessential “lose fifteen pounds, write more, eat out less, and call my dad every Sunday,” but none of my goals ever really stuck. One of my biggest struggles when it comes to my identity is that I’ve always felt more like a dreamer and less like a doer. I could spend hours upon hours fantasizing about doing a home tour on my blog, but when it comes to actually doing the dishes, I have absolutely zero motivation.

When I happened upon the OneWord community through a friend’s blog, I thought this is something I could get on board with. I was tired of not having any motivation to complete a list of tasks. What I needed was vision: a steady anchor to guide my life.

2013 had been a really busy year. I got engaged, graduated from college, got married, and got my first grown up job as a social worker. It was a year full of transition, and by December, I was exhausted. I found OneWord online, and decidedly chose the word rest to guide me in 2014. As it turned out, 2014 was just as busy as the year before. My lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety reared its ugly head and practically took over my life, permeating everything I did. I craved peace. I craved a feeling of rootedness during those months. So for 2015, I chose the word bloom. As in, bloom where you’re planted. This year saw even more transition, as my husband and I quit our jobs to pursue a life in ministry with our church and moved 45 minutes away. In some ways, I feel as though I have accomplished what I set out to do with my word this year, but in many more ways, I fear I have fallen short.

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What I’m realizing now is that in my hurry to grow up and become established and get ahead, I neglected to recognize the holiness of the small. I felt like everything I was doing had to be big and glamorous and get me noticed. Everything was complicated and nothing was sacred. My life was characterized by striving, rather than stillness.

I want this year to be different. I desperately need it to be different. Maybe you’re with me?

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Perhaps what we need is a change of focus.

One recurring theme in my life this year is the importance of focusing on the small moments. The moments where life doesn’t seem glamorous. The moments when we feel like no one sees us. The moments when we wonder whether or not we should show up, and what that even actually looks like.

I believe our words are for those moments, maybe even more so than the big ones. Because our lives are made up of more than just the highlights we post on social networking sites.

In my own life, I have given into the temptation to overthink and over-complicate things. I’ve used this as an excuse to not show up for my one wild life, and build bridges to the hearts of people that I could love even more deeply. I’ve put too much stock in the belief that the big moments and gestures are the only ones that really count.

My prayer for us as we move into 2016 is that the chains of those lies would be broken, and that we would walk in the freedom we have been given: freedom to celebrate the small moments, freedom to embrace our own smallness in light of the greatness of God.

My challenge to us in 2016 is to not back down from the work our words require of us. Whether it is inviting a new friend for dinner, going to the gym when you don’t feel like it, joining a church, finally going to counseling, or simply repeating each and every day that you are enough, I hope that you will stay the course and lean into the grace of unexpected lessons.

Erin Salmon is a twenty-five year-old wife and church nursery coordinator living in South Carolina. On the regular, you can find her rearranging her apartment, underlining in her favorite books, watching documentaries, and drinking way too much coffee. She especially loves writing and digging into the Word. You’re invited to follow along at erinsalmonwrites.com or on Twitter.