I’m not one to do something just because the rest of the world is doing it. I’m also not one to not do something just because everyone else is doing it if it’s something that would add meaning and purpose to my life.
Like that “one word” everybody and their sister is choosing for 2014.
Part of me says, “Bah, humbug. Who needs a word? Not me.”
The other part of me says, “Actually? A word would be nice. I could use a little focus and direction in my life.”
Another part says, “One word? Just one? For real? How in the heck? I LOVE WORDS. ALL THE WORDS!!”
And here’s what the serious, melancholy part of me says: “There are a lot of words I’d LIKE to choose if it were up to me. But it’s not. Because my life isn’t exactly going how I want it to right now.”
Which may seem a little silly to you, if you’re thinking, “Um, hey, didn’t you just move into an apartment complex with East African refugees? And didn’t you and your adorable husband just celebrate 16 years of marriage? And aren’t your kids, like, all into making stuff and giving all the money to Cambodia?”
What do you mean your life isn’t going how you want it to??
WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM???
Okay, I’m going to be as honest as I can about my own crap without putting anybody else down.
Here’s the deal. I’m kind of an ambitious sort of girl. I like to dream big. To take risks. To go huge or go home. To make a big ol’ whopping difference in the lives of people around the globe.
And I’m DYING (like it seriously feels like I’m dying sometimes) to get back to Cambodia.
So, as I’ve thought about my ONE WORD this past week, these are the kinds of words that make my heart sing. Words like: DREAM. And RISK. And TRAVEL. And GO. And HUSTLE. And GLOBAL. And VROOM VROOM VROOM. (well maybe not that)
I pretty much felt in the deepest part of my spirit that I wasn’t going to get to choose any of those words. That I wasn’t supposed to choose any of those words.
Because the person I love more than any other human? The guy I just celebrated our sweet 16th anniversary with? Is not at the same place as me. He’s still fighting a pretty intense (at times) battle with anxiety and often struggling to believe he even has a future, let alone make crazy plans for it.
And while the devil likes to whisper lies like this to him: “You’re going to die. Your time here is short. Your wife and girls are going to have to live without you. You’re going to have another heart attack. You have no future. You’re worthless,” that same stupid devil is whispering these lies to me: “Your husband is never going to be better. He’s going to sabotage all your dreams. If you ever do get enough money to pay off your hospital debt, he’s just going to rack up more. Forget Cambodia. Forget your future. It’s over. Dead. Done. Gone.”
And at the same time I’m telling Gabe, “You HAVE to trust God with your life and your future. You HAVE to,” am I trusting God that he can make dreams come true whether or not Gabe seems to be moving along at the pace I think is necessary to achieve those dreams?
I might have maybe discussed this before, but my love language? Acts of service. When Gabe does stuff for me, provides for us, I feel loved.
His love language? Physical touch. When I’m near him, holding him, scratching his back, rubbing his head, cuddling with him, he feels loved.
When he’s anxious and plays games on his phone to relax instead of doing work that pays the bills, I freak out. What he needs most is for me to hold him and love him through it. And I’m feeling unloved and unwilling to give him that.
And things keep getting a little bit better and then coming back to awful. Even on our “happy” anniversary.
And so I don’t choose a word because the only ones I can think of are ANGER and BITTERNESS and SILENT TREATMENT and a few that only have four letters that won’t do on this family-friendly blog.
And while some happy, holy bloggers (I’m totally being unfair here. I haven’t even read their posts.) are choosing their husband’s name as their one word, I’m thinking, “I’ll choose BITE ME before I choose GABE.”
And today it all hit the fan. We were supposed to be leaving for church and instead, we went into the bedroom and had tears and words. And we talked about our love languages, and Gabe told me through tears that he’s not crushing my dreams on purpose and there was a lot of other stuff said (good but hard), and I heard God whisper MY ONE WORD to me.
And I fought him.
Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.
And then I gave in. Gave up. Which was a good thing to do, because the word?
Surrender it. All of it. The dreams of going back to Cambodia. The dreams of getting out of debt. The dreams of Gabe being anxiety-free and us leading a happy, “normal” life. ALL OF IT.
And I told Gabe, “I’m making you a promise. I’m surrendering my dreams, giving them up. And I promise to love you like you need to be loved, no matter what.”
And I felt this huuuuuuuuuge weight lifted off my shoulders.
And I felt the love that I keep burying underneath resentment come bubbling back up.
And I felt peace.
And I don’t have the time to get into it now, but a whole whole bunch of things kept happening all day long to 1.) affirm that I made the right choice of words, and 2.) that my dreams are best off in God’s hands anyway.
So, that’s my word for 2014. SURRENDER. What’s yours?