I’ve been thinking a lot about what my “one word” should be for 2015.
If you aren’t familiar with this concept, in a nutshell it is forsaking the long list of typical new year resolutions and replacing those with a simple word that hopefully will be used to accomplish goals in the upcoming year. Last year my word was “trust”. You may wonder how I did with that. Let’s just say that if my being alive on January 1, 2015 would have been based on how well I lived out my one word in 2014, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this.
Yeah. I failed miserably the majority of time. if I had kept track, I’m sure statistics would show that the scale was tipped very much in favor of the “worry” side as opposed to the “trust” side.
Enough about last year. The calendar has been changed. A new year has started. I certainly want to continue to work on trusting God through all kinds of things, but it is time to focus on a new challenge.
As 2014 came to an end, I thought for sure I knew what God wanted my one word to be in the new year, yet every time I started to write about it, something stopped me. I just couldn’t figure out how to put what was in my head into a written format that didn’t sound so…resolutiony. (Yes, I just made that word up.) Now, nine days into the new year, I am convinced that what I thought was the sure thing wasn’t really what God wanted it to be. The last few days, a new word has consistently occupied my mind. I’ve come across it online and even in my Bible reading. The more I think about it, the more I see how it perfectly fits my current stage of life as well as the trials I am facing.
Persevere. That is my word for 2015.
The one problem with this word–I am really bad at persevering. In fact, I am so unskilled at it, I almost feel like I am setting myself up for failure. Please don’t misunderstand that last sentence. I am not a quitter…at least when it comes to some things. I remember playing soccer as a teen. I started in middle school and continued through my freshman year of college. I didn’t quit at that point; an injury ended my career. I even tried again as an adult playing on an indoor team. It just wasn’t meant to be. The damage had been done. I was done playing soccer. I also think back to my senior year of college. I was student teaching in an inner city school. The building was always cold and I had to walk multiple flights of steps several times a day. The teacher who supervised me didn’t like me very much. Oh, and I was eight months pregnant with my first baby. I remember coming home, exhausted, and wishing I could just quit. I didn’t. I stuck it out and graduated the end of December, just a few weeks before the birth of our son. I had every opportunity to walk away from a very dysfunctional marriage. I was even told to do so by several “friends”. For twenty-five years I wondered if that year would be the one to see the death of this marriage. Instead, God honored the commitment we stuck to and on our twenty-fifth anniversary, we renewed our vows more in love than we ever had been. I do need to write that story soon! Not bragging, but in most areas of my life, I have had a decent record of perseverance.
Until this past year at least. Yes, 2014 saw my will and determination come to a screeching halt. And the beginning of 2015 has not seen any improvement in the desire to just quit. If you know me at all, you know I deal with a chronic illness, one that leaves me fatigued beyond description on most days, dizzy and off balance most of the time, as well as facing pain and difficulty doing even the simplest of tasks–including swallowing and remembering basic things. Lately I have added sensory overload to the growing list of surprises my disease throws at me. I can’t tell you how many times this past year I wanted to quit. In fact, every day so far in this new year I have entertained the thought that I just can’t do this anymore. The most recent was just a few hours ago as I faced the recurring emotions that come with going through bedrooms and closets to prepare for a major move. A simple find like an empty saxophone case floods my memory with the beautiful sounds my daughter made as she played the myriad of instruments she had. She was–and is–such a gifted musician. Among all the instruments she played, though, the sax was her primary love. Her sophomore year of high school we bought her a new saxophone. It was not the traditional brass. Instead, she chose a shiny black one. She named him Klaus. Eventually, she put Klaus in a gig bag to make him more portable and she tucked the empty hard case in the back of her closet. Today, after pulling out so many of her things–things she doesn’t want–I came across the beautiful hard case that once held her saxophone. Many nights I would sit and listen to her play and I wished she never had to leave. But of course, that couldn’t be. She grew up, got married and is expecting a baby. Fresh tears stung as they rolled down my cheeks and dripped onto the carpet in front of me. This scene has been repeated many times in the last few weeks as I am forced to go through things left behind that hold sentimental value to me but really do not need to move with us. How I want to quit the process–the process of moving, the process of being forced to remember what was but what can never be again, the process of letting go of the old and embarking on the new.
Don’t give up.
Life is about change. Accept it. Embrace it even.
These are all the things I need to learn to do. The picture I chose for the top of this post is perfect in how it shows how I feel right now–the road is v e r y l o n g. It seems as though the end will never be reached. It looks daunting and exhausting to my eyes right now. In fact, the very thought of it sends waves of even more fatigued throughout this body that is already weighted down. Yet, the road must be walked. There is nowhere to stop and set up camp. Regardless of the fact that my body and my emotions scream at me to just quit, I know I cannot do that. I must keep putting myself through the agony of making difficult decisions as to what can come with us to a smaller space and what must be discarded or given away because there just isn’t enough room. I feel very alone in this process. Perhaps that’s just the difference between men and women. As one of the bigger items that we needed to get rid of left the house this morning, my husband’s thoughts were along the line of “It’s gone!” while mine remembered back to the years when our kids were young enough to play with the item–how often I heard laughter and fighting and the crack of the cue ball against the perfect triangle of pool balls on the table. As the game table went out the door, I felt like a piece of me went with it. My mind screamed “Quit!” But my heart whispered, “Persevere.”
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)
The road is long. It is a journey…a marathon not a sprint. I know I’ll get tired. I know I’ll want to quit. But I cannot. I will not.
I need to persevere.