I gave up on New Years Resolutions because it seemed that they were always the same and rather uninspiring: lose weight, read my Bible more, lose weight, do and be more and more and more. Two years ago, I surrendered the manic need to “improve” myself and decided to choose one word as a theme for my year. I’m not alone in this – many others have done the same thing.

My word for 2009 was “Moments.” I wanted to slow down and notice the moments of my life more. It gave birth to an entire category of my favourite writing here at Emerging Mummy as I tried to write down all of the moments that I was noticing, the times when I felt my heart say “This moment matters!” It was part of a major shift in my life that continues today – the discipline and joy of being a noticer, of being fully present in the moments of my life, however small they may seem to the outside eye. God has profoundly changed me through that practice.

Then, for 2010, I chose the phrase “Abundant Life.” I wanted a graciousness in my life, a focus on the people and events around me. I didn’t want to be preoccupied anymore with a thousand things at once.  I felt drawn to John 10. In particular, the words of Jesus when he says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I felt drawn over and over again to the idea of rest and peace – sometimes in my calendar and schedule, other times in a more spiritual and emotional way. Then I went through a period of acedia this year, a spiritual depression of sorts which greatly tested me, leaving me wondering what of my life mattered. I emerged from it, incredibly thankful that God had given me that word as I kept returning over and over to what I knew God had promised – abundant life.

This discerning and deciding has become a deeply spiritual practice for me. I take the time after Christmas and before New Years to pray, to wait, to journal, to read Scripture and wait some more. I’m waiting for a word from God  – for me. Sometimes it’s a deep knowing in my own heart, other times it’s a word in Scripture. This year, it was an intersection of my own heart, scripture, conversations with mentors and life circumstances that lead to the theme for 2011.

So that brought me to 2011.  These past few days, as I have prayed and waited, the word that kept coming back to me is this:

ENOUGH

I suppose I should have seen it coming. Not only did I just finish reading this life-changing book by Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and ‘Women’s Work’ but there was also this pivotal conversation with my mother just a few weeks ago that arose out of my own exhaustion and angst, my own issues of never feeling like I’m enough.

She is gentle now. “Have you ever thought that it’s not about the things you do, Sarah? That you can do all of those things and be all of those things and still it wouldn’t be enough. Because really, the accomplishment of stuff or things won’t give you that feeling of being enough. You just wear yourself out on a treadmill of expectations.  

Enough doesn’t come by accomplishment.  

Enough is just contentment. Joy is contentment.  With who you are, where God has placed you and resting in the season and work he’s call you to – today. That’s how you simply know, right now – it’s enough. And it makes your soul glad.”

Like most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I am absolutely stuffed with a hero complex. Whether it’s around parenting or my marriage, my relationships in my extended family and friendships, the care and daily running of our home and finances, our church, our faith, our city, our country and our world, I feel overwhelmed sometimes by all of the things that I should be doing or need to be doing. It’s hard not to feel like you are responsible for it all. Like you’re never enough, you should always be doing more, like your life must be BIGGER and BETTER to really matter. In a way, this issue is likely deeply ecclesiastical in its nature for many of my generation.

My biggest battle is contentment. And it seems that this is the year to lay down my expectations for my own life.

I feel God drawing me to know this, truly know and experience it in my heart of hearts, in my daily life:

He is enough.

And then, growing off of that deep root of knowing, there are tendrils announcing that where He has placed me, in this season of my life – that’s enough, too. My finances are enough. The work I do? It’s enough. The mother I am? It’s enough. The woman that I am? She’s enough, too. What I can do, the gift that I can give now, will be enough. I am enough when I am in Him. I don’t need the treadmill of expectations anymore. I need contentment, I need the truth of knowing that He is enough.

The scriptures that I feel drawn to for this year ahead are in Philippians, chapter 4. The entire chapter will probably keep me for the year but here are a few verses so that you can see the road that I am turning down.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I also wanted to say thank you to all of you who read, comment and lurk around here. You mean a lot to me and I’m looking forward to another year together. I value your voice in my life.

Blessings on you and your families as you welcome a new year.

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Linked up at Ann’s Walk With Him Wednesday (even though it wasn’t published until Thursday.)

In which this is about birth and humanity and the Incarnation
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  • I love the idea of having a word for the year. What a great word and principle to build on in 2011. Maybe I will take the first week of January and see what I hear from God for 2011 as well…

    • I like it much better, it seems to stick with me more than resolutions ever do.

  • Love it. I’ve been doing the word for a year for many years now. It has saved me over and over again. Like yours this year … Funnily enough, I’m working on a blogpost as we speak and one of my moments from this year has been: “I am enough.” Mmm. We must be tuned into the same frequency. I love that. And I love how you unpacked it. Will link back … You’ve done a beautiful job. I look forward to reading your Enough this year.

    • You know, you’re the second person that did that to me this morning! It makes me laugh – Okay, Universe! We get it! Evidently it’s a message many of us need this year. Off to read your stuff now…

  • Anne J.

    Amen, sister!
    We posted Philippians 4:8 on the fridge last spring when I (well, my husband and I, really) were truly struggling with feeling we did enough. I had returned to work full time after my mat leave and he had started a new, really challenging job and we just felt we weren’t keeping up with anything well. We were getting so negative! My sweets hubs took the scripture and made me a cute sign with my little guy’s picture to remind us to fix our minds on what is pure and lovely! It really helped us get through some days when house projects still remained unfinished, dinner was late, dog hair flew everywhere, we were both exhausted, BUT our little man was still a joy!
    There is something about that desire to “keep up” in our society, or maybe it’s just the stage of life we find ourselves in as parents to a little person. In any case, it always refreshes and encourages me to read your stories, both of your struggles and triumphs! THANK YOU! Roll on 2011… xo

    • Oh, that’s a GREAT idea, Anne! I might copy it.

  • Enough…I think it is definitely something that all of us struggle with. Am I enough for whatever person/situation? Am I doing enough? What a great way to turn enough into being content with where you are and what you have. This is the first year that I have decided to take a word theme for the coming year. I have been reflecting over the past year to decide what my word should be. I love your word moments from last year! If it is ok I may use this as my word for this year…as it encompasses a couple of words that I have been throwing around the last few days. And when I read moments it was like a flutter in my heart…like that was it.

    • Of course you may! I’m glad for it. If you write it all out, come back and leave the link – would love to read it.

  • Shelookethwell

    Wow, love that word, Enough! Funny, your word for 2009 was one of the possibilities for this year. I am almost sure of my word for this year. This was a wonderful post, thank you for sharing.
    Clinging,
    Michelle

  • HMF

    my husband and i created a safe word “foliage” for when he and i feel coming to a screeching halt in a coversation with each other.

  • Jaskim

    Sarah, I can’t thank you enough for the time and energy you give to your writing. I am encouraged, inspired, and calmed by your words. You are gifted and you are bold in sharing your gift(s) through Emerging Mummy. Thank you and thank you again.

  • This is my first time ever “naming” a year. I hope it has the impact of your ’09, and ’10 namings. Your word “enough” – getting “off the treadmill of expectations” and onto contentment – it sounds so well thought out – and perfect. It falls right in line with the path of your previous years.

    I pray that it will be as life forming and life giving and life affirming as those previous two years have been. (and I really just did pray that)

    God Bless and keep you and yours, born and yet to be born. Happy. NEW. Year.

  • SarahR

    I love this! Philippians is the book I return to again and again when I am seeking His guidance. I struggle with feelings of mediocrity all the time, especially with regard to my mothering skills. I love my son and husband so much, I am scared I am letting them down. I need to remind myself constantly that I am doing the best I can.

    Sarah – I started reading your blog a year ago, and I truly love it. You constantly encourage and challenge me, and I appreciate it so much.

    Have a wonderful New Year!

  • Jan

    I never thought of having a word for the year. I like the one that you have chosen. I also enjoy your blog. You are so good at putting your thoughts and feelings into words. When I was your age I tried to put many things about mommying into words and living in that space but they never quite expressed the feeling or the moment. I feel so much slipped away. It’s wonderful how you are savoring these times, even the hard ones. Thank you for your honesty and for reminding about “enough”.

  • Maybe I’m a year behind you! God started giving me words about 3 yrs ago, not to encompass the whole year usually, but at least for a season/period. But this years I feel is “Be Mindful” which sounds much like your “Moments” from last year.

    Blessings to you and yours, Sarah.

  • Hi Sarah,
    I really admire how you have found your voice in your writing. I’m still new to blogging and am finding my voice/self in a new forum. In the past, I’ve always written for the business I was working for and not about things that mattered to me.

    I love your word for the year idea as well. I’m going to think on that for myself…
    Your choice is an interesting one – enough. It would be nice to feel like I’m doing enough but I don’t know that I ever will. But perhaps one can just learn to accept that enough is enough!!
    All the best to you and yours.
    Lori

  • Heatheroftheeo

    I heart Philippians 4. It’s all we need…

    Happy New Year, Sarah!

  • i find myself wanting this too. is it okay if i adopt it as well? enough. how well you put it… how true a post, dear sarah. thank you for all of your encouragement, friend. xo

  • Laura B.

    I read your blog almost daily now, Sarah – my husband and I just discussed how much what you are talking about fits with where we are in life (yup, children of the 80s/90s!!). Happy New Year to you too, and thank you so much – please keep writing!!

  • love this! i bounced over here from idelette’s site. i left a comment on her post about being enough, and it is perfectly fitting here too… so i’m doing the taboo copy-and-paste thing. 😉

    the phrase “i am enough” has been bumping around inside my heart this past year as well. i have lived my entire life with the mindset that i’m not enough. that message was conveyed to me (both directly and indirectly) so much that it became the filter i processed things through. even now, as a 30-something, i feel inadequate. insufficient. not good enough. not smart enough. not brave enough. not _____ enough.

    not enough.

    and then one day in the course of the last 24 months as the world crumbled out from under my feet, deep inside i heard:

    i am enough because I AM is enough.

    and i just froze. even now, that sentence feels like hallowed ground to me. sacred. holy. it amazes me still. i so badly want it to sink down deep inside me. i want it to uproot the message of not-enough-ness and firmly plant itself in its spot, sending its roots down to the core of who i am. i want it to become the filter i see, hear, and experience life through.

    cause that? that would change everything.

  • I love every word of this. Every. Single. Word.

    I almost chose Enough as my word, too, but ended up choosing one that encompasses that idea… I’ll be posting about it soon.

    I love your heart, friend.