Word of the Year (2013)

Each and every New Years we hear a lot about resolutions, diet plans, workout exercising, spiritual development, and many other aspects of self-improvement or transformation. New Years provides, somewhat logically, a marker in our lives that gives us the chance to reflect on the past and look forward to where we want to move in the next year. Some of us love resolutions while some hate them. Personally, I have used resolutions many years in the past, and what I consider to be the important part of them is the reflecting and correcting of the trajectory of our lives. 

However, this year I did not necessarily come up with a list of resolutions. There are certain things that I have committed to do over the course of the year, but I am also recognizing that transformation must occur rather than simply trying to exert more willpower.

There is a need within me at present to not tie my growth to duty, but rather to desire. 

Where will Sonora & I hike to this year?
I do not want 2013 to find me simply plugging away, feeling as if I'm trying hard to improve my obedience to God, my faithfulness to Amanda, or my generosity and love towards others. I don't want to commit to relearn a skill, just for the sake of having that skill. There needs to be the desire for transformation, of learning new things, growing relationships, and knowing those I know better and more fully. 

Such reasoning is why I am choosing to simply create a Word of the Year. In full disclosure, I got the idea through a few friends doing this on Facebook - thanks for the inspiration Gina Pollard!

The word I have chosen for this year is not new to me, but rather ties in with those aspects of my life which I realize awaken certain joys in my life that are much needed. This is a theme word and one which I aim to implement in all arenas of my life. 

The word of 2013?

Adventure.

Adventure is the experiencing of something new, sometimes exciting, sometimes dangerous, but always the exploration of unknown territory.

Adventure means getting to know new people. For an introvert like me, this is always a challenge but a challenge in which there is always benefit.

Adventure means getting to know people I know in deeper and more meaningful ways. It means walking alongside them, and getting to know their stories. It means letting their stories impact my life in a way that values them and puts me there for them in ways I might not find in my comfort zone. Life's Adventure is in relating and knowing other people, not simply doing my own thing but in simply being with people through the events of their lives. Sometimes this means I will have to actively choose to pause other aspects of my will to be there for others. That definitely brings Adventure.

Adventure means reaching out to try new activities. Yes, it means more hikes to more places. It means more excursions to Arizona wine country or slot canyons. It means finding ways to get to the beach, mountain streams, or the fall foliage of changing trees.

Vocationally, Adventure means branching out and trying my hand at a missions ministry opportunity which has been building steam in my thoughts and among friends. Such an adventure is truly going to bring me to new places, relying upon others in a way which definitely has risk but is a part of what I am discerning as a faithful following of God. More to follow in later posts on the details of this mission, but I feel the call to support communities in America in a way to equip and strengthen them. It will require faithful patience in working missionally as well as fundraising to support this work to connect, equip, and strengthen existing churches and communities in ways that illuminate the love of God and others in daily life while at the same time recognizing the challenges facing them in this particularly societal and economic context of modern day America. Curious? I hope so, because as I have begun to dive into this concept, there is a passion and calling which exists that has gripped me in a way that I haven't yet been gripped. It is new, unexpected, and definitely requires a leap of faith that fully defines Adventure.

Adventure means seeing new places, whether locally here in Phoenix, elsewhere in the United States, or even internationally. There is an opportunity which may arise to spend a few weeks with my good friend Joe Lacanlale in Haiti, aiding him on a thesis for his Masters Degree in looking at the potential of capacity building of communities within the work of Mission Lazarus. I still have to do research to fully understand this, but such work is a nice extension of the more domestic, urban, missions I am feeling called towards. What can be learned on this Adventure?

Similarly, Amanda and I are hoping for Adventure within our marriage. Where will this year find us traveling? What will we find locally that enriches, expands, and energizes our lives in a new or deeper way? What will get us out of routine and into new, creative habits of exploration and joy? We've been planning for awhile to attempt a certain trip before children, and this is probably the time for that to happen! Because who knows what 2013 has in store, but I know kids would definitely bring us a new and crazy Adventure. (No, for those getting their hopes up, this not an announcement...no kids on the way yet!)

Adventure means reading new ideas, continuing to learn and grow around new ideas and a deeper understanding of life. What topics of study, what ideas or developments will come about in thought this year? 

Adventure means embracing the unknown future, but holding on to a hope that there is a transformational process underway that my life's trajectory can be on. There are aspects of my life I thoroughly enjoy, and other aspects that have been drudgery or even perhaps stymied by fear, and Adventure means continuing to follow this trajectory, this transformation, this calling, even when the next step is shrouded in fog. If I step off a cliff, then its time to take that leap of faith. 

Adventure means desiring the joys which present themselves in life's uncertainty. Life is meant to be lived forwards. Attitude is essential to desiring Adventure.

This year, 2013, I choose to embrace Adventure. It will bring me in contact with many of you, and I look forward to walking with you on the parts of the journey that bring us together. 

Stay Adventuresome, my friends.