Happy New Year, kids! Welcome to the very last blog post of 2017, the much-anticipated reveal of my word of the year!! (Okay, no one was anticipating this, but I like to pretend I’m #fancy sometimes.)
Before I started pondering on my 2018 word, I thought about the past few words of the year. Last year my word was “mindful” because I knew going head-first into a full year of being a full-time business owner would mean that each decision had more weight, and I wanted to be as intentional with my time in and out of the office. (Also funnily enough my friend Jessica of Simply Jessica Marie also chose the same one without either of us knowing!!)
The year before that? I chose “create.” I I still can’t believe how that word truly manifested itself into my own creative business. (I started off January 2016 by practicing a new calligraphy letter each day, and in turn, decided I need to paint an animal for each letter too because who doesn’t like making more work for themselves? #allthethings That’s how the Animal ABCs collection was born!) After that turning point for me, choosing a word of the year became a must instead of just a maybe. Prayerfully planning and thoughtfully looking ahead helped me hear the voice of God better in my day to day life, not just every 12 months. I remember clear as day feeling the pull to create all through December 2015, and I’m thankful I shut up enough to listen, trust and take that next step into the purpose God is calling me to. (Sometimes that’s what it takes y’all: just shut up and listen. #nosugarcoatinghere)
Choosing a word of the year is all about creating focus and clarity for the next 365 days, free from distraction or pressure. (And I think we could all use a little less distraction!) But unlike that long list of resolutions, promises and workout routines, your word of the year can’t be “broken.” How freeing is that? It’s simply a mini mindset shift for digging in and adding more purpose to every aspect of your life.
So let me step down off my soapbox, and let’s dive into why I’m so excited about 2018’s word of the year: depth.
Like all good words of the year do, this word just magically kept popping up in my life. I kept thinking to myself at church, “Man, I need to go deeper this year,” and in the car with my boo thang, “How can I take our marriage to the next level?” I knew my business had gone wide this year — lots of new projects, countless rabbit hole ideas and in the first 6 months or so, a lot of throwing things at the wall to see if the sticked. This year, the width is set, and I’m ready to go deep and niche down. I’ve figured out what lights me up (wedding stationery, products, pet portraits) and what is better off in the hands of a different artist. 2018 will be the year of digging deep into that sweet spot of where I shine AND what sustains me and pruning away distractions.
But beyond my business shift, “depth” is my focus for my personal life as well. Like a soccer mom at Target, I struggle with distraction and chasing after the sparkly things. (Darn you, Sugar Paper and your pretty wrapping paper.) And sometimes these sparkly things are good things that can seem like I’m on the right path, even if I’m in the middle of BFE. (Anyone else have these pitfalls?)
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. - Colossians 3: 1-2
In case y’all didn’t know, I’m married to hands-down the best guy in the whole world who has a big ole heart and is frequently mistaken for Adam Levine. Our almost three years of marriage have been the BEST THING EVER (and yes, I say that with all caps because being married to him is SO fun, SO challenging and SO rewarding. Love him. And I highly recommend marriage. It’s awesome.), and I want to keep that streak going. We had this verse read at our wedding (and it’s inscribed on the Bible I gave him!), and it really speaks to that whole depth thing I keep yammering on about:
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
See in our relationship, I don’t want it to be surface level. I want us to have deep roots by that stream, the kind that will last through the proverbial Hurricane Irmas and beyond. So this year, I really want to invest more into marriage by creating even more depth. Maybe that looks like making room for more heartfelt talks (open-ended questions vs. yes/no questions are game changers y’all) or even marriage counseling. Katelyn James encouraged me so much about this at Creative at Heart because I got a little pride about the whole counseling situation because 1. I don’t want people to think we had issues and 2. It sounds terrifying. But she explained it to me like this: you’ll invest all this money into your education, your business, but why not your marriage? Hit me hard, y’all! Keeping the embers stoked and vulnerable, open communication has been key for us, and I want my focus on “depth” to make sure there’s no coasting in our marriage. Because coasting just doesn’t work, and it can be so much easier to coast when those distractions take over, don’t you think?
Cultivating depth in 2018 is also about taking a big step forward spiritually. And yes, this is another area where I can easily get distracted!
“Why do you think young Christian adults struggle most deeply with God as a personal reality in their lives? Noise and distraction. It is easier to tweet than to pray!” - Tim Keller
After all, the immediacy of social media is is no match for the patient, life-giving process of prayer. (Which is one reason why I deleted Facebook off my phone today!) I also have this prayer ADD problem where I’ll be praying one minute and then dissecting the lyrics of a Taylor Swift song the next without even realizing it. This year, I’m diving into trusting God more deeply in every single aspect of my life, surrendering (AKA letting God be the driver instead of me!) and taking time to read, like really read, instead of skimming the Bible. Oh, and those little moments during the day that I spend flipping my thumb over pretty photos? (Y’all know what I’m talking about.) I’d like to replace those with flipping through my Bible or praying a word of encouragement over my hubby. Sounds like a much better use of my time.
I mean, as much as I love splashing around in the shallows over here, I have this craving for depth. (Cue Hillsong’s Oceans…) More face-to-face instead of Facebook. More lingering on the source of all things good. More purpose instead of interruption. That’s what my focus is for 2018. And while social media and our phones make it extra convenient to communicate and check in, I don’t want to get lazy with how I foster my friendships and grow in my relationships.
I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John: 12
There’s a freedom that comes with stepping out of the shallows. Freedom from distractions, freedom from counting followers and likes, freedom from comparison. That sounds like right where I want to be, so I’ll be doggy-paddling my way to the deep end this year and correcting my nearsightedness.
Also, I used to love this quote in high school (#thetumblrdays), and I found it to be very fitting for this year. Now where’s my seashell bra?
I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
TL;DR: My word of the year for 2018 is depth. I want to make sure I’m going deep instead of wide in my business (no more random projects and focusing primarily on watercolor), creating a marriage that has a strong spiritual foundation (trading in surface level for more richer convos and connections and making that a primary focus), growing in my faith and running headfirst into knowing God deeper and better.
Do you have a word of the year? Let me know in the comments below!