Can one word set the tone for an entire year? Can one word guide us as we refine our ideas and philosophies? This is a challenge I am taking on for the year 2021. One single word to be my focus; the lens through which to view my goals and be my guiding light. I wanted to find something that would cast a fresh perspective on the beliefs and values that I have been developing and refining these last few years. Something that would continue to drive growth in my life in all realms; personal, relational, entrepreneurial, and spiritual.
The word I chose is Embrace. Let’s start by exploring the word itself;
Per Webster’s Dictionary:
Embrace – transitive verb
- To enclose in arms
- Encircle, enclose
- to take up especially readily or gladly
- To avail (help, benefit, use or take advantage of) oneself of
- To take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole
The last two parts of the definition resonate and captivate something deep within me…
To avail (help, benefit, use or take advantage of) oneself of; To take in or include as a part, item, or element of a more inclusive whole.
Here I think is where I find the means to set my sail for the coming year. The catalyst for the refinement of ideas. Proverbs 3:5-6 comes to mind:
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct your paths.
Is this not also a call to Embrace? To embrace God’s plan for our lives? To avail ourselves of both trials and opportunities? To view both blessings and burdens/brokenness as an element of a more inclusive whole? To trust in the grand tapestry that he is weaving from the stories of our lives?
…and I’m sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion
And so I will use Embrace to set my sail as we continue this voyage of life and enter yet another trip around the sun.
One thing to note; I am not using this as a New Years Resolution; I do not believe in pursuing New Year New Me, but rather New Year better, stronger, wiser me. I have participated in the New Year, New Me ideology many times but I’ve come to the question; do we not gain infinitely more from investing our past experiences and knowledge into our future selves? I digress, such could be a whole topic in its own, for another time perhaps.
So what does it look like? To view and refine my beliefs and values through this focus?
Embrace Uncertainty. Embrace the Gray. Embrace the Art of Being. Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood. Embrace My Body.
Some of these ideas build on beliefs I’ve been refining for years now, some are new revelations from just this past year. Lets dive deeper.
Embrace Uncertainty. Revel in the wonder of possibility rather than be ruled by the fear of the unknown. I am a bit of a control freak in some ways. I like to have a plan and have a good idea of what to expect. The one thing that rings true is that when I felt like I couldn’t control anything I could always control my response. I can choose optimism. This is not to say ignore the hard and challenging and pretend everything is fine. I love how Simon Sinek put it in his podcast the other day “optimism is not a denial of the current state, optimism is the belief that the future is bright but it accepts current darkness…optimism says … this is a dark time, this is gonna hurt … but I know that if we come together and work together that we will come through this better and stronger than when we went in.” I choose to be optimistic in the face of continuing uncertainty.
Embrace the Gray. Society today has a tendency to be so polarized. Everything is black and white anymore. Politics. Religious Views. Fitness Styles. Dietary Habits. Car Preferences. Parenting Styles. etc.etc.etc… Taylor Kulik said it well “We have lost the ability to respectfully disagree with each other… the ability to value other perspectives and points of view… the ability to engage in dialogue with people who live differently than us… the ability to approach others who have different views with curiosity and compassion.” I want to be more curious and compassionate with others. However I also wish to do this while still standing firm in the essence of my own beliefs and values. I know I have a tendency in many arenas to opt for silence rather than risk rejection or argument. I want to resist the temptation to change or dilute myself to fit into the box others set for me or out of fear of not being accepted. Instead my aim is to acknowledge and respect those around me for exactly who they are and hopefully be accepted for myself as I am but know that if not, that’s okay too.
Embrace the Art of Being. It can be so hard to feel balanced with the plethora of roles/identities we juggle. As a Wife, Mother, Husky Mom, Daughter, Christian, Business Owner, Fitness Instructor, Blogger, and an Individual sometimes trying to be present in every role leaves me overwhelmed and paralyzed until I am really present in none of them. Being home with my daughter I am constantly thinking about what I should be doing for the business or outside doing chores in the dog yard/chicken coop/garden. When we are out being social (on the rare occasion that actually happens anymore) I find my thoughts lingering on things that need to be done at home. This year I want to truly seek to be present where I am in each moment by being intentional about setting time aside for the different hats I wear and holding space for gratitude in each moment.
Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood. I had a clear and clean vision for what life as a mother would look like… Since the moment we found out she was on the way the reality has been nothing like the vision; except the fact that I love her more than words can express and am beyond blessed to have the honor of being her mother. Throughout the pregnancy and into the fourth trimester the discrepancy between my vision and the reality invited an incredible amount of stress for both me and my husband. We have since made many adjustments to our approach and expectation and I hope to continue on this path as we journey the road of parenthood. To continue to lean into what feels right and works for us as a family.
Embrace My Body. This one is definitely in a season of refinement. I have successfully maintained a relatively positive view of my body since 2012 when I first started my health journey, but pregnancy was HARD for me. It left me feeling in many ways that I couldn’t trust my body to do what a woman’s body should naturally be able to do. From the nightmare depths of Hyperemesis Gravidarum to the unplanned cesarean delivery I am left with the temptation to feel like my body failed me. I choose daily to fight this temptation with the truths that hard as it was I conceived and carried my beautiful baby girl to term and have since continued to sustain her. I choose to have grace while my body recovers and excitement for all my body is capable of.
There are many other ways we could explore how Embrace colors my life but in essence;
Embrace calls me to fully live.
I invite you to take this journey with me and instead of another New Year’s Resolution, identify a Word of the Year that will be your guide in the year ahead. I’d love to hear what words you choose and even help you in your journey.
Follow me on FB @Katelynn.Cordero /Insta @katelynn_prause. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org