January 4, 2021

WORD OF THE YEAR | 2021.

As I walk into 2021, I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope. Anticipating the journey. Afraid of taking the first steps (or taking a misstep along the way). And longing for that exhilarating feeling of freedom. I'm even waiting for the moment when I can look back and see just how much courage it took to take that first step, too. 

2020 taught me that if I leave my hands open to whatever God is ready to give me, then I know I can live freely and fully because He's in control. Last year forced me to sit in the stillness when the world shut down and while I know it's what my heart needed, I can feel this desire in my heart for newness and growth in 2021. Even though my stubborn and often hesitant Nine self is resistant to change, I actually WANT it now and am ready for the challenges that I know will come with it. 

In my typical indecisive fashion, I went back and forth and debated between lots of different words for this year. ENJOY, PRESENCE, FORWARD, CONNECT, and EMBRACE were just a few of the contenders. I actually didn't settle on my word until yesterday, when I finally sat myself down to figure out what I want to pray over and live out in 2021. 

I want this year to be full of presence, movement, and challenge. When I was looking for words, I came across this list of words for each Enneagram type and the suggestion for Nines is to live out the word, FORWARD -- to actually do the things that we so easily put off when we merge with others or sloth or neglect ourselves and our desires. 

And that initiated this desire to learn more about my dreams and desires (which sounds weird, but Nines tend to lose themselves in the lives of those around them so much so that they often forget who they really are at their core). It also spurred me to want to grow emotionally and spiritually. And to get over my fears and try new things, too (especially the things I've put off for years). I want 2021 to be a year of being awake to the world around me and awake to myself as well. 

So I chose the word ENGAGE for 2021.

Merriam Webster defines ENGAGE as follows:
  • to pledge oneself; to promise
  • to begin and carry on an enterprise or activity
  • to do or take part in something 
  • to give attention to something
  • to enter into conflict or battle 
  • to come together and interlock 
And all of those definitions encapsulated exactly what I pray this year to be. 

I want to ENGAGE in newness and growth. I'm the first to admit that I like my comfort zone and yet I know that growth doesn't happen there. Growth happens when we take that leap of faith. 

I also want to ENGAGE with myself. I want to ask myself the hard questions. I want to journal more to spend time on myself and learn more about what I truly want. And I want to just commit myself to prioritizing myself without guilt, too. 

I want to ENGAGE in the lives around me. I became the most politically awake and involved in my entire life last year. Previously, I avoided political conversations at all costs (Nines stereotypically avoid conflict and I often viewed politics in the realm of arguments and division) but now I'm often the first to talk about it, especially when it comes to our dire need for racial reconciliation. That said, I hope that 2021 allows me to be a listening ear and to be active participant in the lives of those around me.

I also want to ENGAGE in the lives of my community and friends/family. I'm typically the one who responds to invitations and I rarely initiate social gatherings and even texts. I want to be more present in the lives of others and reach out first. 

I hope that 2021 allows me to ENGAGE in healthy conflict -- something that I used to avoid at all costs. If I believe that communication is the core to relationships, I have to learn how to communicate in all ways, shapes, and forms, including disagreements. That means being a present listener and learning how to speak my needs, wants, and opinions.

I pray that 2021 will provide opportunities to ENGAGE, or come together, with my loved ones, too. Too much isolation and time away from my church family, in particular, has been really hard this past year. 

I have no idea what 2021 will bring, but I know this: progress over perfection. If I desire change and growth on my part, I have to accept that mistakes are okay and that grace is 100% required in my journey. 

© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall