Did I choose the wrong word for this year?
My Word of the Year, FREE or Freedom hasn’t been playing out how I thought it would. I’ve asked myself, “Did I choose the wrong word for this year?” Now that we are coming to the end of the first quarter, it occurs to me that there might be a few people who are wondering the same thing about their word for 2017.
In addition to an annual word, this year, for the first time, I have a word for each month. January the word was clearly Hope. It came full and spilling over with the grace to work intensely on a big project with near-miraculous capacity. February, the word of the month was Surrender. It came with a computer crash and four years of data, including the new project, being unavailable and unknown for weeks. Surrender then marched on into this month of March. It seems like Surrender may have been a more appropriate choice for my word of the year.
After considering this, instead of changing my word, I am challenging the way I see and live it out. What if the key to being free is found in surrendering? As the writer of the Luke wrote:
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.”
– Luke 17:33 NLT
It is a paradox. The caterpillar must die to self in order to become a butterfly. In the quiet darkness of the cocoon transformation happens before it can emerge to freedom. Last week, I visited a butterfly conservatory, and witnessed the amazing process of metamorphosis, seeing butterflies slowly unfurl and emerge from the confines of the chrysalis. Then we went into the sanctuary where butterflies flew free and beautiful, pollinating flowers, floating on air….
I’m revisiting my journal, reading about freedom, in order to remind myself what it means to be free. The root word means “to love, to help, friend.” Being free in Christ means I am loved immeasurable by God, so much that Jesus died so I could live in freedom. I am free to choose to love others. I am free to say “no” in order to say “yes” to the greater thing. I am free to love myself even though I mess up and feel sad. I am free to choose joy, to sing, to worship, to let go of expectations.
I am free to choose the butterfly as my animal (insect) of the year even though I still feel the confining transformation process of the cocoon….
Above image from my coloring book: Colorful Blessings: Celebrating Everyday Wonders