Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Light. (a word for 2021)

having little weight not heavy
designed to carry a comparatively small load
not dark, intense
something that makes vision possible
a particular illumination

  Who knew the world light had so many definitions? It is my word for 2021 (see more about words from past years here! 2019, 2017, 2016, 2015) and when Justin asked me which definition I was intending, I literally said 'all of the above!" I've chosen words like committed, steady, quiet, rooted, faithful, hallelujah and abide. And its pretty cool so see the impact those words had (and still have!) like having read through the Bible a few times, taken up new prayer routines, learning to be intentional with community and community building, picking up the regular practice of thankfulness, and learning about a long obedience in the same direction. But this year felt different for a thousand reasons. For one, I didn't even care to chose a word. But let me back up.
  Somewhere along the past three-ish years, the feeling of lightness, of being carefree, has not come easily to me. I feel bristly most of the time, hardly ever laugh, and everything seems serious and heavy. Melodramatic much? Ugh, I know. But it's as if I've just put on some sort of weighted coat and can't shake it off. 

  I have always been a more serious person, and that has slowly intensified these past few years. It isn't a huge surprise and when I consider what life has looked like lately, I can draw some correlations. In a matter of three years, I lost my naiveté as a parent when we experienced medical trauma, uprooted our lives near family and friends and really healthy community and moved 5 states away, have spun my wheels so much to try to establish new, deep connections in our new home (without success), endured a global pandemic that made life in a new place feel even more lonely, and grieved the loss of my dad far away from family and friends. Sort of like gut punch after gut punch, you know? I think what has made each of those seem extra heavy to me is that they all happened when I was being obedient to things I knew God was calling me to. It is impossible to not feel bristly when you are open handed with all aspects of life (especially when it doesn't always make logical sense, but you're trusting God to work out the details.). And then time goes by, but those 'details' just feel hard and heavy and not at all anything like what you left behind. It becomes really easy to 

BUT. But, isn't that part of Satan's cleverness? To help us forget in the dark what was so clear in the light? When things get heavy or hard or we find ourselves not in a season of fullness, it is pretty clever of him to gently, slightly shift our focus to the weight of things until eventually it is all we can feel or see or hold onto. One of my favorite songs this past year from NeedToBreathe has this line that keeps rolling around in my head

 "hang on to the light in your eyes and the feeling, hang on to your love-drunk original reason, all these things I've learned, it's never a straight line, cause all these things take time, these things, they take time."  

  You guys, I've done exactly that. Slowly over the past few years (and then a bit quicker since the pandemic started and the gut punches really rolled in), I've forgotten that light, the love-drunk original reason for why I so happily opened my hands and asked God to show me his faithfulness in big ways and jumped to move across the country and have tired so hard to keep building community in our new home (can I keep saying that though we've been here for two years??). Probably even a year ago, light didn't feel as foreign as it does to me now. It seems the past year (global pandemic, anyone?) has just put a big 'ole exclamation point on anything that felt hard or heavy over the past few years. 

So here we are, with a fresh determination to shake that off. I can literally feel my need to find the light and shoe off heaviness. So, light it is. My word for 2021! I still actually have zero idea what God is up to and, if I'm honest, I feel a bit more hesitant about staying open-handed. Obedience seems a bit tender to me these days and not I don't feel quite so eager to pray bold things right now. But light- I can start looking for that. I wrote this in a blog post from last Spring and the words hit home today for me... 

"In the meantime, I’m a firm believer that he gives us things like sunshine and snail mail and innocent kids with their fart jokes and the occasional glass of wine and pizza and FaceTime and the ability to go for a run to help us move through the days until we’re on the other side of whatever feels heavy." 

Preach to myself much?! So, here's to 2021 being a year where (even if I still don't feel clued into what God is up to) I shake off some heaviness. Laugh a bit more. Give less thought to how awkward I am. Sit with the good lists longer than I give thought to the hard stuff. Let the light in, let the light in. That's my motto for 2021 😌✨

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