One Word – 2019

This past Sunday was Epiphany — the first Sunday of the New Year. The start of a new year. It’s funny — I bet so many people think I would wish away 2018 – cancer and all – but I don’t. So many wonderful blessings and experiences came from 2018, really, the cancer was just a blip there at the end. And with 2018 having been so amazing, I’m truly excited to see what 2019 has in store.

Our pastor challenged us on Sunday to pick not only a word for 2019, but to pick one from the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 talks about these fruits, these characteristics of Christ.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

We did a whole nine week series on these traits, these fruits, in the fall, but to focus on one, for an entire year would truly make that characteristic part of my fiber.

Going into 2018 I was sure Faithful would be my word, but as I sat there taking notes and listening to Bryan on Sunday, something in me stirred. I am faithful. I have no doubt God exists, that He is real, that He knows me and guides my path. I pray, believe I am heard and I am generally faithful to follow the replies and promptings I receive from Him. Faithful is not a stretch for me at this time in my life.

As I looked through the list, the one that kept making me woozy, kept turning my stomach a bit, was self-control. I tend to lean to impulsive in my life. Some things that have looked impulsive along the way have actually been my response to listening to a prompting — moving to Phoenix on a whim; having weight loss surgery; moving across country again to South Carolina. I’m talking more about day to day choices that I make.

Frank and I are both blessed and gainfully employed. I’ve faired well sans a degree and after years of hard work and proving myself, I make more than a fair wage. And so when I get a wild hair and want to buy something, I do. I don’t put much thought into it. And that leads to impulse buying. Like a lot of people, I have more crap sitting around my house than I will ever need.

Frank had us go through an exercise of organizing all our holiday decorations so that we can more neatly store things and know where and what they are for next season. This wasn’t just Christmas items, it was fall, Halloween and Christmas. The containers I filled AFTER discarding things that were broken, unloved and unused anymore, is really shocking. We are full up on holiday “stuff” and that got me to thinking. What if? What if I was super intentional about my spending this year. What if I went back to our roots, from the days when we had little and had to stretch a dime to last the week or longer. What if I BUDGETTED? {GASP}…

I find that budgetting requires a combination of planning and dreaming. Dreaming of the things we want out of our life (travel, early retirement, etc.) and planning for those events/experiences. And really, that’s the crux of things, isn’t it? Do I want more THINGS? Or more EXPERIENCES? At this point in my life the latter is starting to win out. I want to do more, see more, share more with Frank and my family. And let’s face it…that takes money. And to have a surplus of money takes planning and discipline. Planning I’m good at, follow through/discipline…not so much.

Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and follow it.

~ Dave Ramsey

So there it is, my word for the year. Self-control. This will be challenging I imagine. It already is. I’ve had to talk myself down a few times already. And I’m hyper-aware of all the advertisement in conspicious places like Facebook and magazines all of a sudden. Even my email is loaded with junk that I’ve signed up for along the way and over the years. Now I feel bombarded.

I pulled out my old Dave Ramsey materials and started reading, brushing up on basic principles. Saving first, planning for fun, having a “blow money” category so Frank and I can have spending money we’re not accountable for but that doesn’t detract us from our goals. The quote above keeps jumping out at me. “Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and follow it.” Sage words that have huge impact on me right now.

I’ve been childish in my spending the last year or so. I’m sure some of that is wrapped up in psychology — not having the one tool I’ve always turned to in times of stress or joy — eating. Changing that behavior left me one less tool to cope with stress. I have found that it has come out now in my spending. That’s not okay. What I need to do is learn to confront my stress and deal with it differently — how? Well, I’m working on that — but certainly in less destructive ways.

So, I am taking the challenge. I am digging in and studying out my one fruit. Self-control.

and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness

2 Peter 1:6

Along with the fruit, Bryan asked us to find a supporting scripture. I’m still studying that out, but 2 Peter 1:6 talks about patient endurance coupled with self-control being the combined trait we should be seeking after. Endurance will be the name of the game — one year at a time.

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