I’m crossing some things off my list this year

A couple of years ago, I jumped on the “resolution revolution” bandwagon and joined an initiative called OneWord365. The idea was that instead of making New Year’s resolutions (which never worked for me), participants would choose a single word to focus on for the entire year, a word that would sum up “who you want to be or how you want to live”. That year, I decided on the word “harmony”.

I had chosen it prayerfully, knowing that being mindful of this word could change the soundtrack of my life if I let it. I began to “take a beat” before I reacted to things, and ask myself, “Do I know this to be true?” And further,  “Is my response in this situation going to create harmony or jeopardize it?” This practice became reflexive over time and helpful in a variety of ways.

I’m back on the bandwagon this year, and I’ve chosen a word (again, prayerfully) that seems to particularly resonate at this point in my life.

My word for 2017 is “Release”.

If you know me, you know that I’m something of a perfectionist. (Okay, maybe a lot of a perfectionist.) And the truth is, being a perfectionist – though it might sound desirable – can actually hamstring my effectiveness in both my professional and personal life. I would argue it’s a cowardly way to be and I need to knock it off. That means I need to do more than just loosen my grip; I need to drop the reins entirely and get off the dang horse, handing over control to God.

The first step to doing this, I’ve concluded, is for me to identify the root of this need for control. What makes me want to take over and do everything in my power to manage outcomes . . . or wring my hands with worry when I can’t? Why do I hold myself to an impossibly high and thoroughly unhelpful standard?

To be fair, I think we all do this, at least to some extent. We hedge our bets, we try not to care too much, we hide, we pretend we’ve got it together, and some of us become perfectionists as “insurance” against failure. And still, we fail. So why do we do that?

Once I figure out my underlying motivation, I believe I’ll be headed in the right direction.

Now before you give me “that look” because you’re skeptical that I can change this tendency of mine at this late date, let me add this. I still intend to do what I do with excellence, because that honors God. But I’m going to make it a priority not to try and micromanage my life, because that’s a losing proposition (and frankly, exhausting). And honestly? I have a habit of letting things go and then taking them back, so I’m going to need God’s help if there’s to be lasting change.

So here I go. Already I’m starting to get some clarity on this just by landing on the word and I intend to probe it with intentionality in the coming months. I’m excited to see what God puts His finger on for me to release this year.

Maybe the process will help you, too.

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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

5 thoughts on “I’m crossing some things off my list this year”

  1. Diane, I find that as I get older it is harder to not want to control things! I think it comes from having life experiences that I want to protect myself from or protect others. It’s a very hard thing to do. It’s admirable that you are taking this time to examine it. What a good thing to contemplate and I like the idea of choosing a word to focus on!

    1. Thanks, Michelle. I’ve heard it described as “walking with a limp”. We become very self-protective (and protective of others) and it’s hard to let that go. I’m choosing to believe God has all things under His control at all times and if I have to remind myself of that every day – which I no doubt will – then that will serve the dual purpose of keeping me connected to Him! Thanks for commenting.

Your feedback is welcome!