My Word for 2018: Abundance

If you caught one of my latest posts, "When Thriving Doesn't Go as Planned," then you read about my reflections in 2017 and the struggle to live out my word for the year. You may have also caught my word for 2018 - abundance. 

Since speaking my new word into existence, I've received several questions. "What does it mean to pick a word for the year?" and "What does a year of abundance look like?" are the two most common ones. I've taken a couple of weeks to really mull it over because there's no use in goal setting if you don't have a plan of action. In fact, I recently listened to a podcast that talked about planning a road map full of achievable, measurable steps and even planning the celebration that you will have when you reach said steps. Goal setting isn't for the faint of heart. 

But first, let's tackle the question of why so many of us pick a word for the year. Whether you call it your word, your goal, your theme, or your mantra, we all mean the same thing: 

We all long to center ourselves around something good and transformative. 

When asked, few people want to stay the same. We all have dreams and benchmarks that inspire us, but too often, our actions don't line up with the changes we want to see. Ultimately, that's why I pick a word. When I become complacent and fall back into old habits, I want a reminder to press on and choose a different path. When I hit a bump (or mountain) in the road, I need a reminder that the easy way to handle things isn't always the best way. 

Typically, when I face a hard season, my first response is to see the lack all around me. Maybe I lack resources, like the funds to pay for an insurmountable bill that I didn't see coming. Or perhaps, I lack the patience to deal with a situation that seems to keep happening. It's far too easy to be pulled under with negative feelings, and I begin to doubt God's provision in my life so quickly, without even stopping to consider the countless times that He has provided for me in the past. 

Jennie Allen wrote in her book Nothing to Prove, "I know you wonder, like I used to, if God is so abundant, why don't we see His abundance everywhere in our lives?" Throughout the past year, I have noticed that I fail to see God's abundance because I begin to focus on what I don't have as soon as something goes a little bit off course. In 2018, I want to have the mindset of abundance, one where I am quick to thank God for His provision and trust Him to step in, instead of first trying to tackle things on my own. 

So, what do action steps look like for this goal? A huge one is changing my speech and mindset, both inside my head and in conversations with my community. Instead of complaining about what I don't have, I am going to focus on the good things that are right in front of me. Instead of nagging my husband about something he didn't do, I'm going to first praise him for the things he did. And when I want to give up on a tough situation, I'm going to ask God to intervene before formulating my own war path. 

This might sound simple or even a bit fluffy in theory, but I can't tell you how often my brain goes to phrases like, "I want," and "If I had," and "I wish," before I ever consider gratitude. And at the end of the day, a mindset of abundance means noticing the abundant blessings in your life and living out of a place of thankfulness, rather than dissatisfaction. I firmly believe that perspective has the power to dictate our attitudes and our decision making, and I want to choose my next steps out of a mindset of abundance, rather than one of scarcity. After all, God promises to be our Provision and give us everything we need to do all that He has called us to do. If we believe that, there's no reason to live out of a place of lack.