It’s goals week on the blog. Yesterday I shared about joining the 2018 Reading Challenge and today I’m discussing about my word and saint of the year. 🙂
For the last few years on January 1, I have been choosing a word and saint of the year that I would focus on for the following twelve months. I already had a word in mind in early November but as I was praying and working through my Advent journal during Advent, my heart started moving in a completely different direction.I was reflecting on the fact that 2017 was a year of blessing for me and my family. We had previous years with pain, cancer, the death of loved ones etc but this year was all about family, road trips and making memories. I felt moved to focus on reaching out those who were struggling and going through difficult times.
This weekend Bella and I went on a weekend trip to San Francisco to see one of her favorite musicals Aladdin. We had an amazing time but it was also painful to see sections of San Francisco with so many hurt and homeless people. While there offering a smile, a kind word and a friendly conversation with a stranger emphasized my desire to lift people up. Later I received a phone call from an acquaintance and my first instinct was to let it go to voice mail (I’m not much of a phone person) but since it was the second time they called I knew they needed to talk. I picked up the phone and had a conversation. Sure enough, they just needed to share some news, vent about a concern and ask for prayer. I listened, offered some words of encouragement and prayed for them. When I hung up, I felt that tug again. These are little things I can do to uplift someone.
I was browsing Facebook and saw that Jen Fulwiler, who made the Saint Generator, also made the new Word of the Year Generator. I thought it would be interesting to see if I was given a word leaning towards the new word I was contemplating. I prayed, clicked the link and my word was….
My first thoughts… What the heck? Toast? As in “You’re toast.” “Burnt toast.” “Dry as toast.” “My daughter’s going to marry Ian Miller. A xeno with a TOAST family.”
How was that supposed to be my word? Of course, then I thought about giving a toast. Raising a glass and saying kind words about someone. Lifting them up. Celebrating their joys. Wishing them all the best. Yes, that sounds more like what has been on my mind. The word that was really pressing on my heart was “Encourage.”
This morning as I was in bed waiting for my alarm to go off, I was thinking about the word encourage and two more points came to mind.
One, to encourage myself with positive thinking. As I am reviewing last year’s goals and making new goals I was reminded to shut down any self negative talk. (You failed at that. You can’t do that. Why would anyone care what you think? You’ll never be as good as her. You seriously suck at keeping your house clean.”) And instead use more encouraging language in my head. (Be brave. Give it a try. Focus on the positive. Be yourself. Work at it in baby steps until you get it done.) It may seem stupid but I think it makes a difference in my mental and emotional outlook.
Secondly, as I was saying my morning prayers, I felt like Jesus was reminding me that I need to turn to Him for encouragement and not to always seek comfort in a piece of chocolate or some online shopping or binging on Netflix when I’m stressed or need a break. Instead He wants me to turn to Him first. Let Him comfort and encourage my spirit. Then it’ll be easier for me to enjoy the other activities in moderation. 😉
So long story short – My word is encouragement.
My Saint of 2018
For my saint, I used the saint generator and got St. Teresa Margaret Redi. I had never heard of her before but after reading about her I discovered that her main goal in life was to love God and to share that love with others. She did her daily activities without fanfare and worked tirelessly in her convent’s infirmary taking care of people and lifting up their spirits. (It was also said that she had the gift of healing.) So, I am praying that St. Teresa Margaret will help me this year to love God, share that love with others and to bring healing to broken spirits by offering encouragement and love.
Did you pick a saint or word of the year? Do share!
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