Embracing a NEW WORD is not abandoning the OLD WORD

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new word for me to ring in the new year. I like this concept. Narrowing my focus on a practice or idea that needs some attention.

At first, I was a bit ambivalent about abandoning “simplify”. I needed it, I’ve tried to apply it, I’ve had some success but there’s a whole lot more to do in that area. I realized, though, that these words aren’t assignments to be completed (or ignored as the case may be), but they’re all works in progress. For me, changing my word and my focus for 2011 doesn’t mean I’ll stop simplifying but I hope that the work I did toward that end this past year will continue and will set the stage for other areas that I have to work on.

As was the case last year, I thought of a bunch of words and read a lot about the reasons that other bloggers had for choosing the word for them. Elizabeth wrote about “now” and living in the present. Always a desirable challenge. This year, she makes a very eloquent case for the daily pursuit of grace and joy. Sarah over at Clover Lane tossed around a few ideas before settling on “discipline” for 2010. Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience, whose thoughtful prose is multidimensional and always convincing, has decided on the year of here¬†for 2011. I’m sure there are thousands more choosing a word. It’s tempting to adopt the word of another because the reasons they give could apply to me.

Inspired by Ann’s post (essay really) about fear, I began to think about how much fear influences my decisions and often inaction. In spite of my accomplishments, competence and efficiency in some areas, I realized that sometimes fear keeps me from doing the most mundane things. It also keeps me from doing big things. Fear doesn’t come from God and I’m certain that it often interferes with God’s will for me.

Fear of what you wonder? It’s not the typical pangs of fear that you might anticipate from a mother of 4. I rarely obsess or worry about the health and safety of the kids. Generally, I suppose I do as much as the next person as a situation might warrant. I’m talking about a fear that’s more subtle, but very powerful. Fear of ridicule, fear of making costly or time-consuming mistakes, fear of being misunderstood, fear of looking like an idiot. The result of this type of fear is a nearly constant internal dialogue that prevents me from acting and gets me stuck.

A perfect example is letting most of my friends and family know about this blog. I still haven’t broadcasted it. Part of it is a fear of putting myself out there and exposing myself to ridicule or judgment without a chance to defend myself. Honestly, I just want to write about things, I don’t want to have to defend myself. Another part of it is that I’m not sure most of my friends and family would really care what I write here. Most of what I write about, I tell them in person anyway, so for some, it would be redundant. My friend, Elaine, did find me through one of my DIY posts-but I figured that would happen eventually because I turned her on to my favorite DIY bloggers. Hi Elaine!

Well, the word for me for 2011 is “Fearless”. I have no intention of being reckless. My intention is to identify when fear is an obstacle, figure out what I’m fearful of and move forward in spite of it.

I’ll let you know how things go.

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