2017 Word of the Year // Bold

“And if you like midnight driving with the windows down, and if you like going places we can’t even pronounce, if you like to do whatever you’ve been dreaming about, then baby, you’re perfect; so let’s start right now” – One Direction // Perfect

I’ve gotten in the habit of choosing a word of the year because in my opinion, New Year’s resolutions don’t work, typically aren’t realistic and people rarely stick to them. Choosing a word of the year allows you to look at your life, find an area you’re lacking in and then dedicate an entire year growing in that word; whatever that looks like for you.

2015 was Intentional, 2016 was Authentic and 2017 is going to be Bold. It was going to be ‘bet,’ but I thought I’d do something a little less trendy.

This post is gonna be confusing, sporadic, overwhelming at times and a little bit spiritual, but that’s exactly what this next year is going to look like. Also it’ll be littered with music lyrics and inspirational quotes because you know I love them.

First things first. I’m an extremely sheltered person. I’m a dutiful daughter, I make realistic decisions, I’ve always been the mom of the group, I succeed academically in school and I’d rather have my teeth pulled than have the attention placed on me. My whole life I’ve felt in control of my appearance, my school work, my extra curricular activities and my future. It’s in that control that I’ve found safety and comfort in knowing that I had it all figured out.

William G.T. Shedd once said, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”

I’ve spent my whole life safe in that harbor, and I can count on two hands the amount of times I’ve really felt of my comfort zone. “One foot in and one foot back. But it don’t pay to live like that. So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks. For never to return.” -The Avett Brothers // I and Love and You

A few weeks after being dumped, I woke up one morning and vividly realized that this life is completely my own and I have infinite possibilities if I allow myself to take heart. Biblically speaking, ‘take heart’ means to become confident or courageous during a difficult situation. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Have more comforting words ever been spoken? True Identity Ministries breaks down the passage like this, “The way Jesus uses the phrase take heart here in John 16:33 is as an imperative verb. That means that he is saying taking heart is an action, it’s something we do, and that it is a possibility in our lives based off the choices we make…but it doesn’t become a reality until we actually make the choice.”

Freshman year of college I had set myself up for success joining the right clubs, working hard in school and interning in the years following. Fast forward to my senior year, I was paralyzed by fear of realizing I don’t have it all figured out. I had been working so hard towards goals I wasn’t sure I still wanted.

“Sometimes, making the wrong choice is better than making no choice. You have the courage to go forward, that is rare. A person who stands at the fork, unable to pick, will never get anywhere.” – Terry Goodkind

I don’t want to stand at the fork of my life, paralyzed by both sides, stuck in my head ruminating about the details of both. I’d like to take a leap of faith and figure it out from there. In every Christian girl’s favorite song, Hillsong United // Oceans, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.”

Deep in my heart I know that God would never leave my side, but it’s a scary feeling being called to do or be more. He calls us out to live our wildest dreams, and all we have to do is trust in Him. Trusting is hard; it requires you to submit control to something you have no idea how it’ll work out. Last night, I realized that Mary fully trusted the angel Gabriel with the most insane prospect of giving birth to the Son of God. All she did was listen and she was led to the most important job of all the world. What amazing things could God be calling our hearts to if we just listened?

“My whole life I’ve been telling myself ‘don’t be afraid.’ And it is only now that I’m realizing how stupid that is. Don’t be afraid. Like saying ‘don’t move out of the way when someone tries to punch you’ or ‘don’t flinch at the heat of a fire’ or ‘don’t blink.’ Don’t be human. I’m afraid and you’re afraid and we’re all always going to be afraid, because that’s the point. What I should be telling myself is ‘be afraid, but do it anyway.’ Live anyway.”

If you’re getting the gist of this, I’m a total control freak. I like to have everything planned from what I’ll have for dinner to what age I want to be married by. After breakfast with a friend, I described to him what I wanted my life to look like in the future, and he asked me why I wasn’t doing any of those things now. Initially, I was pissed. I couldn’t do those things until I moved, or got my first job, or got married, or had a salary, or was different as a person.

A day later, I realized that there might not be a future; I should adopt the style I want to be wearing, I should move to a big city and struggle to pay rent because I spent my money going out with new friends, I should take adventures to the mountains and avoid mundane rituals of everyday life while I still have the chance. I don’t have a mortgage, kids or a husband keeping me from doing literally anything I want to do. I’m absolutely free to make as many mistakes as I want, while they still have little consequence.

This is my time to be reckless, to chase dreams and move across the country. I’m about to be 22 years old, and I am so scared: to move, to leave my friends, to get a big girl job, to be an adult, etc, but that’s exactly why I need to go. I’m not going to let fear keep me from doing things I feel are right for me or making big mistakes. I’d be lying if I said I know what I’m doing day-to-day or even what I’m going to do with my life. One thing that I know for certain is that for every closed door and every failed dream, “I’m learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me.”

I’m deciding to relinquishing control, and not allow myself to feel comfortable because when you’re uncomfortable, the magic happens. Maybe I’ll live in a sleepy little town on a lake and work at a local bookstore, maybe I’ll become a fancy account manager at a top PR firm in a big city, maybe I’ll move from city to city experiencing new things and living the nomad life. Who knows what I’ll end up doing, but at least I’ll be living out my story, however it’s meant to unfold.

So what is bold going to look like for me?

I want to speak up when I’d rather keep quiet. I want to stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves. I want to keep carrying boys on crutches’ luggage across a parking lot even though it weighs more than me because no one else offered. I want to make eye contact with people instead of looking at the ground. I’m starting to write a book I’ve always dreamed of writing; a freaking book. I want to adventure wherever my feet and my friends will take me. I want to every day make decisions that get me out of my comfort zone, because according to my homeboy Ben Rector, “Life is not the mountain tops, it’s the walking in between.” This year is probably going to be really tough, and I’m sure I’ll shy away at times when I should stand up, but I’ve never felt more ready to take chances; maybe you’ll take some with me.

life: You’re not good enough. You can’t be brave. You can’t do this.
me: Bet.

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