I chose a word last year, but wasn’t writing faithfully, so never put it out there for others to know. That’s not important since a word for the year isn’t chosen to flaunt or compare with others, but rather to help focus attention, effort, and growth for the individual who choses the word.
This year I am back at it. I am sharing my word with you, not to say you should pick a word yourself or to show off mine, but rather because somehow putting it into print gives it a kind of “officialness” – a concreteness for me – maybe even a bit of accountability from the few who read this and know me well enough to ask me about my word during this next year. 🙂
2018: embrace imperfection
Ok, it’s sort of two words, but again, that’s not important. What matters is that I have struggled with perfectionism most of my life. It has caused me to be very critical of myself and others. It causes me to be continually discontent: nothing is ever completely finished, good enough, or all that I would like it to be. It drives me to want more, to do more, to be more. All. The. Time.
im • per • fect: (n.) someone or something characterized by faults or weaknesses that do not necessarily impair its use; not fully formed or complete; still in process
As I have grown, I have learned to temper my perfectionism. With four children, it didn’t take me long to realize a perfect home would never be a reality. My love for them made it not too difficult to value hospitality, community, and other’s learning over picture-perfect decoration and neatness.
At work, valuing teamwork, shared leadership, and coaching new leaders fairly easily took priority over my personal perfectionist tendencies. I care more about encouraging and empowering others than I do about imposing an unrealistic perfection standard.
I know I don’t practice this perfectly (duh!), and I know others don’t always experience the grace I would like them to get from me, so this year I want to focus on embracing my imperfection.
I am convinced that other’s won’t feel that imperfection is OK in them
if I don’t feel that imperfection is OK in me.
I recognize that when I play my tape forward, my internal unrelenting desire for perfection reflects the ridiculous delusion that if I just worked at it hard enough, I could actually get to the place where I never need grace myself. I would never make mistakes. I would never need forgiveness. I would never need help. I wouldn’t need a Savior.
That’s crazy. Perfection will never be my reality. It is not possible. It isn’t even desirable in my heart. I long for community and I long for connection with God and others.
Imperfection enables closeness.
Imperfection does not have to prevent closeness as I often erroneously think it does. Rather than withdrawn from people because I am not handling my thoughts, words, or actions perfectly, I can lean in closer to others and experience their grace and support that encourage my heart and help me grow. Truth is, imperfection makes me more accessible and people have continuously surprised me with their judgment-free acceptance of my imperfection.
This year I want to get better at embracing my imperfections rather than running from them or attempting to hide them. This may be one of the most challenging words I’ve ever chosen. Maybe I will be brave enough to let you know how it’s going as the year goes on.
What are some of those “crazy-makers” that you battle in your heart?
If you have one, what is your word for 2018?
My first word ever was for 2017 and was Trust. During December the Lord gave me Vulnerability as my word for 2018.
Wow, Jenny. Vulnerability is a challenging word too. May God lead you to wonderful growth in 2018!
thank you for sharing Terry. I will think of my word 🙂
Praying that God leads you to a great word for 2018! (I almost wrote “the perfect word for 2018”, but decided “a great word” would be good enough! 🙂
Embracing imperfection–what a radical thought. Owning our messiness and seeing ourselves for what we really are. And glorying in who God is making us to be. I love your genuine spirit, your willingness to see reality but not let it dictate who and what you are. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability, Ter.
Thanks for always being in my corner, Dayle, and encouraging me to share my heart! Love you!
Your heart is so worth sharing, my friend. God has filled it with wonderful ideas and thoughts!
My word is reflect, and I’m already finding that to be a struggle. Makes sense that God laid it on my heart. I so need to pause and reflect on Him, His care for me,what’s happening around me and in me. Keep me accountable, my friend.
I will gladly ask you about “reflect”. Never been easy for me either. I will pray with empathy! 🙂
Haha. You don’t embrace imperfection perfectly yet! That made me laugh. Nice picture too of an imperfect car—it goes great with the definition. Thanks for putting yourself out there.
My word is “Deeper”. It has many nuances from deeper connection with others by loving well, listening with more empathy and focus. It means disturbing my inner peace to dig deeper to the roots of character qualities that trip me up or hold me back from being the “deeply rooted oak” where others can experience consistency of love and grace; a solid place to find strength, or comfort or hope or safety. I am sure the Lord will expand my understanding and applications of this word as I move out into the year.
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Great word. I look forward to seeing what God does with that word in your life this year.
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