Much ado is made over having a word for the year, often replacing the need to make resolutions that begin on January 1.
I like resolutions. I like goals. But I love a word for life.
My word for the last three years has been discipline. I can’t move on from it because I haven’t conquered it. Last year, I didn’t even try. But in November of this past year, I chose to keep discipline as my word and implemented it as my mantra on the daily. And it’s working.
The secret of discipline isn’t to have a reward attached, although that can help. I tend to reward myself even when I don’t deserve it, so having a motivation of fitting into my clothes or creating margin in my schedule are things I want, I don’t always ask in accordance with those wants.
However, my word of the year has stuck. And there’s only reason why it has.
Because this year, the word discipline holds a promise.
Hebrews 12:11 says that no discipline is pleasant at the time, in fact, it’s seems painful, but later it yields peace for those who have been trained by it.
Heaven knows I’m craving some peace.
Here’s how it works, in a practical way. As an example, my grad school assignments are due on Thursdays and Sundays. Always. No surprises. Yet I will often put off doing my school until the last minute, which causes stress to me and to everyone else in my life who happens to want some of my time…including my kids and husband.
Yet, when I meditate on this verse, buckle down, and use discipline to get my work done early, there is peace on Thursdays and Sundays. The anxiety over school has dissipated.
The same concept applied when I needed to tackle organizing and tidying up our home. It took a lot of discipline to properly sort all those papers and get rid of books, precious books, that no longer brought me joy. In fact, it took almost three weeks to go through the first three steps of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up method (and I found a closet full of files, so I’m still not done!).
However, my home feels different when you walk in. There is joy.
Last night, I felt tired around 8:30 PM. As someone who consistently doesn’t go to bed until the wee hours of the morning, I remembered a comment my friend made when discussing her own battle with insomnia. She said that if she fights against her body’s tiredness, she’ll catch a second wind and it’s much harder to ever fall asleep.
I kissed my kids and husband goodnight, popped a melatonin drop under my tongue, and fell asleep.
It took a lot of discipline to walk away from my laptop and to-do list. It took a lot of discipline to walk away from the beautiful night hours that bring quiet while my family sleeps.
But the result was worth it.
I was up this morning before 5 AM. I made breakfast for my husband. I’m reading my Bible and doing a lesson in a Bible study book (Experiencing the Heart of Jesus), and I’m enjoying the beautiful morning hours that bring quiet while my kids sleep.
In fact, it was the Bible study that prompted this post. Lucado recounts how four men stepped out in faith: Moses raising the staff to part the Red Sea, David trusting God when he battled Goliath, Naaman dipping in the Jordan river to cure his leprosy, and Paul abandoning the Law and choosing grace.
Then he says, “The individuals in these stories were never stronger than the moment they let go of their own security in order to experience what only God could provide. Ultimate victory. Lasting peace” (Lucado, 2003, p.37).
I crave that peace more than I crave anything else right now.
I’m hungry for it. It’s worth doing the things that are not fun at the time, the things that feel hard, the things that are unpleasant, because at the end of the day, I’m training myself so that I will have peace.
And that’s worth having a word of the year. A word for life.
Do you have a word of the year? How do you stay motivated by it? Share in the comments.