Winter is not my favorite season. While I appreciate living in a place where all four seasons are present and distinct - I'm not a fan of winter. The chill in the air. The wet ground. And the unpredictable weather.
Yet, even though I don't care for winter, I still know that it has a purpose. It helps the ground become prepared for spring and harvest. It calls for life to slow down and find rest - a hibernation of sorts.
The reality is that we all have seasons of life that we would rather not go through. Times that we prefer to avoid if at all possible. But what if there was a purpose waiting to peek through - just under our discontent? What might this season of life have waiting for you?
Something I have done in my church the last few years is hand out star words. For those not familiar - star words are a word or a phrase to guide you in the year to come. The only rule I have with this practice is you trust your word. In other words no tradsies, no take backs - you get what you get.
I am in a new congregation, introducing this practice for the first time a few weeks ago and when I got my word, I inwardly moaned. This was not the word I wanted at all to guide me in 2023. But I remembered my own refrain - no tradsies, no take backs, you get what you get.
I've been living with the word for a few weeks now and its growing on me. I'm seeing how it may be a beautiful guide for this season of my life, even if I initially wanted to reject it.
Such is life. Sometimes things grow on us - like words. Sometimes we are lead down paths we never saw coming. But there is a spirit of curiosity that can open our hearts and minds to what lies ahead in the unknown.
What is guiding you in this season of your life?
I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions.
Let me explain - I used to work as a fitness instructor for a gym. In January, we would see an uptick in folks coming to classes - only to have it quickly fall away as February came. Why? Because for a lot of people New Year's resolutions do not survive much past the first few weeks of the year.
But, while I do not like New Year's resolutions - I do like lists. And goals. And new adventures.
When I stop thinking about resolutions as something that has to be done and embrace my list-centric nature, all of a sudden there is a freedom that comes. Space and grace and ultimately change.
Maybe you aren't list-centric, but how can you step into who you are this new year that is gentle and embraces who you are - in a way that still makes space for change, even in this second month of the new year?
I love to plan. Give me a blank calendar and I can fill it up. Give me a to-do list or a project and I can work through it step-by-step. But as much as I enjoy planning, perhaps some of my favorite moments are ones where I can sit back and reflect, pray, and listen. Ones where I'm not rushing to get to the next thing or worried about planning for what comes next.. Time to simply be.
What is it like for you to be in this present moment? What gift does it hold?
Michelle is a Spiritual Director and End of Life Doula. She is the founder of Abide in the Spirit.
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