Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed a number of bloggers writing about choosing a single word to guide them in the new year. I thought this sounded like a powerful practice, and when I looked into it a little more, I felt moved to do the same.
I played with a couple of different ideas, but the one word that seemed to stick was this: Holy.
I feel as though the upcoming year, for me, is meant to have a focus on holiness.
Now, obviously Christians are always striving to become more holy. For me, the word is referring to something a little more specific. What I’m talking about is making a conscious effort to be aware of the sacred, and to infuse my daily rhythms with reminders of who I am and Who I belong to.
See, some time between my university days and today, I lost my sense of the Holy.
I stopped noticing that my life was sacred — that I was connected to the Holy One in a profound and mysterious way, and that his beauty and majesty could be seen everywhere.
For years, I’ve been living my life and making my daily choices based on principles I know in my head, and not out of love or awe. I’ve lost any sense of mysticism in my daily life.
I’ve made certain life choices — like keeping a more eco-friendly home or donating to certain organizations — because I believe in my mind that they’re good; but not out of a deep sense of love for the Creator of the world, or out of a longing to see relationships restored, or anything like that.
I pray infrequently, and with short, often careless prayers.
Most days, I live as a functional atheist, making decisions and working and playing as if my brain, my body, and this physical world are all there are.
I have felt a growing need to intentionally infuse my days with an awareness of the Spiritual.
I started this blog because I hoped it would help me to actually become a peculiar human being; but I’ve been trying to do that through outward acts alone. I really feel it’s time to spend some time focusing inward as well, remembering that I have a soul, and that it is in need of transformation.
I hope that this mindfulness will influence the way I interact with people and steward the resources that come into my hands, so that I desire to do good.
A few major ways I intend to infuse my life with holiness:
- with liturgy. I recently purchased the pocket edition of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, and I’m totally in love. I now want to get my hands on the full-length edition and use it as a guide to help me pray more intentionally. Spontaneous prayers are important and good, but when I rely solely on my own feelings to guide me, I find that I’m terribly haphazard — I forget to pray for days on end, and when I do pray, I quickly get lost in other thoughts. I pray only about things that concern me personally, and I forget to ask God to work in me. I forget to pray about the Hard Things. So I want to take hands with others, and let them help me find the words to talk to my Maker.
- by observing holy days. I want to fill my calendar not just with to-do lists, birthdays, and get-togethers, but with reminders of the biblical narrative, and perhaps even days celebrating saints who have gone before me. (I know this is a terribly un-Protestant thing to do, but I think there’s value in it). I also want to observe Natural Holidays (for lack of a better word — i.e. equinoxes and solstices, astronomical events, etc), to remind me that the universe goes far beyond what I typically experience in my everyday life. These events inspire awe at the One who created them, and reminds me that I’m part of a Grand Creation.
I’m still trying to think of other ways to seek out the sacred (other spiritual disciplines, rituals, readings, etc); and I also want to continue to live a peculiar life in the ways I’ve begun to write about on the blog. These are just a few ideas that have been percolating for a while.
Regardless, I’ve decided that I want the word Holy to be my guiding word in 2013. It might not sound very exciting or original, but it’s the word that’s been planted on my heart.
P.S. — sorry that my writing is extra-bleh in this post. Like, more than usual, even. I had to write this post over three or four 5-minute writing sessions. My monkey of a toddler recently learned how to climb onto the kitchen table, along with a number of other tiring accomplishments. She is keeping me BUSY, meaning I have to stick with whatever words come to my head first, regardless of how cliche they are. I hope it’s not too tiresome.
How about you? Are you choosing a word to guide you in the coming year? What is it? Or do you have another way of starting the new year? Or maybe you prefer not to enter the new calendar year in such a way? Please share!