As I posted here and here, I've been working through the goal setting series by Lara Casey on her blog. I am skipping posting some steps, so for a full breakdown, head to Lara Casey's blog. Today, I want to blog about my vision and my one word for 2014 in a broad sense. I chose the word, "play."
It kept coming to mind. At first I thought "play" was too silly a word to define a whole year. It bothered me. I wanted something stronger and "more Christian." Plus I have already seen improvement in myself this year in being more spontaneous, more gentle, and less controlling and intense.
But as I started working on my goals and home for 2014, I saw how desperately I need to maintain and work on applying this word to my life.
I remember childhood days of living outside--of drinking in all the joys and delights of the world. We would play all day--kickball, pretend games, making acorn rings, on bikes and rollerblades--and come in all cold and rosy-cheeked or warm and sun-drenched but always full to the brim of life and happiness. We would feel that good tired you feel at the end of a day of work or play--the tired that is satisfaction and hard, joyous work or exertion. I want to end every day that way--with satisfaction in how I lived and what I did.
I want to be like that again--to be free with my energy and time rather than hoarding and conserving. I want to be a playful mother--gentle, present, and joyful. I want to be playful as a friend, daughter, sister, and wife. I want to continue to appreciate the spontaneous, living joyfully even in inevitable times of stress, clutter, and chaos. I want a playful sense of humor in parenting, in friendships, and in life because I feel that it makes all the difference.
My fear with play is that it would negate adult responsibilities. The world is a serious and broken place. But my inherent tendency when I'm being honest is to be pulled down by it all. I take the wrong things too seriously, which is why I need play in my life.
Through my (as yet unfinished) Eyes of a Child series, I remembered the value of play. Children are present in their play--not focused on comparison and what others think, both of which have driven my decisions far too much this past year. I want to be like a child in looking forward to things, but not so far that I miss the future. I want to rest in my secure identity was a child of God so that I will be free to play.
As children play, they try on roles and responsibilities. They gain a sense of reality that is crucial. Sometimes when I am sweeping our floors, I remember sweeping the floors of my tree house. I remember how much I wanted a home to care for and adult responsibilities. And those memories make my work much more pleasant. In some ways, we all play at roles until we take them fully upon ourselves.
There's also the more intense meaning of play when you play a sport. Being an athlete takes focus and diligence and strength. It means playing your role well for the success of the whole team. It's not a bad metaphor for the Christian life. And we also talk about playing to our strengths--owning who we are and who we are not.
Lastly, I think of playing an instrument. One of my favorite hymns is "Take My Life and Let It Be." I love the line, "Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise." I think of the flowing notes in a well-composed symphony. That's how I want my life to be--like music praising the Lord.
So as much as I want intentionality, planning, and structure, I realize that I will make those things happen anyway; they'll be part of my 2014 goals. What I need to overshadow all those categories is a sense of play and playfulness. By not taking myself so seriously, I will be better able to take seriously what actually is serious. And hopefully I will be better able to play to my strengths in making a difference.
Have you chosen one word for 2014? If so, feel free to share it in the comments! I love hearing the words others have chosen.