I pick a word for my year. It’s like a New Years’ resolution, but different. Instead of making a list of things I’ll do and things I’ll stop, I have a word that pushes against everything throughout the year.

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Brave.

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Present.

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Process.

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Permission

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In early October of 2019 ideas for my word for 2020 started swirling around in my mind. I’m not sure why they started coming to me that early. They typically started popping in my mind early December around the time my birthday would come rolling in. October was a mixed bag of madness for me, perhaps that’s why my subconscious knew it would be time to move on.

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‘Simplicity’ came to me for a minute. I think it felt too close to ‘present’ for me. ‘And’ was another idea. ‘Chainsaw’ was a joke as I seemed to cut up and dig up everything in my backyard to prepare for my garden.

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My art teacher and I discussed ‘Permission’ and how it scared me. She had started me on the journey of Words for my year. I’ll never forget standing in her studio and saying, “I think my word should be ‘brave’.” She smiled at me and made some comment about how exciting and scary that would be. Brave was a great year. I published my first book that year.

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Permission came to me in October and wouldn’t let go. It dug its hooks in to me. I didn’t want it. I had a list a mile long for why I didn’t want to go down that path. 2018 and 2019 had not been kind to me and I knew if I gave myself permission in 2020 I’d start shaking things up in a big way. I knew it was time. I knew I wasn’t ready.

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One morning in November as I drove my boys to school I pleaded with God. I wanted him to take these burdens from me. I did not want to walk this path. I wanted to shove it all in a box and ignore it. I’d been ignoring it. Some of it. He whispered to me, he always whispers to me, quiet and gentle. “You can be brave. You can stay present during this journey. It will be a process. I am giving you permission. Now trust me.” It’s hard to argue with God when he takes years of work you’ve done on yourself and shows you why he brought you through it.

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I remember clutching the wheel, nope, this couldn’t be my life, it was wrong, it wasn’t ok, what if I was making his voice into what I wanted to hear? Except that was not at all what I wanted to hear. I wanted everyone to tell me to stay and put in more and more work.

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Everyone kept giving me permission though.

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I didn’t want it. It felt scary.

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It turned out to be the most freeing thing I could choose.

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Permission.

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I took the blinders off, I looked behind me, at the journey God had brought me on, the parts of it I had been trying to ignore. He was giving me permission to stop ignoring it and to see it all for what it really was. He’d been whispering for a long time.