Last January, I chose a word to define my year. The word was Enough. I wrote,
It is."Little did I know that this word would come to define my year in unexpected ways.
In a painful and confusing experience, I had to delete a person from my life completely last February. I firmly believe that we teach others how to treat us, and I am a person that only has healthy relationships. By recognizing that I was independent of the good (or in this case, bad) opinions of other people, I was able to end a destructive and abusive friendship and move forward. To put it simply, it was enough.
In July, we once again journeyed to the Lake of my youth as we do every summer. I had a profound and life changing experience with a book called "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" by Debbie Ford. The premise of the book is this:
"You must go into the dark in order to bring forth your light. When we supress any feeling or impulse, we are also suppresssing its polar opposite. If we deny our ugliness, we lessen our beauty. If we deny our fear, we minimize our courage. If we deny our greed, we also reduce our generosity...Embracing an aspect of yourself means loving it--allowing it to co-exist with all your other aspects, not making it more or less than any other part of yourself. It is not enough to say, "I am controlling." We must see what controlling has to teach us, what gifts it brings, and then we must be able to view it with awe and compassion."In the the book of Matthew, the translation goes, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." We teach and preach "perfection" until it leaves us feeling a profound sense of shame for not being enough.
But here's what I've learned about that tricky tRiCkY word:
In Matt. 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios,which means “complete.” Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means “end.” 10 The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono,which means “to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.” 11 Please note that the word does not imply “freedom from error”; it implies “achieving a distant objective.” In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior—precision or excellence of human effort—they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words. 12
~Perfection Pending, Russell M. Nelson, October 1995.
So, teleios means actually means "complete." Synonyms for the word complete include "intact", "intregal", "whole", and "undivided". So being "perfect" means we can be strive to be whole, and undivided. For me, being undivided meant finally embracing all those parts of myself I was trying to disown.
I am a wild child.
I always have been. I've been told to "Just try and fit in." But I can't. I just see things differently than the culture I was raised in. The wildness in me wants to push back, do things differently, think other ways, maybe to come to the conclusion the rest of the pack has arrived at, or maybe not. Many people in my culture have tried to shame my wildness and from time to time, I've listened to the critics and my heart broke--and it broke because I was denying the very wildness that God put inside of me.
Last summer, through Debbie Ford's book, I finally "got it". I wasn't suppossed to deny that wildness. I was supposed to embrace it. That wildness is the thing that allows me to be empathetic to others who feel like they don't fit in. Empathy then opens the path for courage and compassion and ultimately, resilience from shame. Resilence from shame is embracing ALL the darkness within me to be able to fully embrace the full spectrum of human-ness that I am.
July taught me that I am enough.
August brought a shock that rocked our world. You can read that story here. Or you can read how it felt here.
Through this I learned so many "enough" things--that we had prepared enough to lose a job, that there was enough time to grieve, that Mountain Man and I had enough love for each other and believe that everything would be alright. God is not just the author of enough but also the author of the great and the marvelous, the unique and the detailed. There were (and are) enough great and tender mercies from God above to see us through the rapids in this section of our journey down the river.
And I am grateful that it is enough.
I haven't chosen a word for 2013, and I feel like I better be careful. However, whatever word I choose, I plan on being open enough to enjoy the journey.
Did you have a defining word for 2012? If you chose a word for 2013, what would it be?