Word of the year

The new year will be here before we know it. A new beginning. A fresh start. Hopefully, a better year than 2020! This is a good time to remember that the past cannot be changed. The future is unknown. And each day in the present is a gift and a blessing. As I reflect on my hopes, dreams, and desires for 2021, I know there is only one ‘Word of the Year’ for me: Commitment.

 Do you need to make a stronger commitment to something in your life? Words used to define commitment include obligation, engagement, and involvement (dictionary.com.) Making a commitment includes taking an invested interest, not simply going through the motions to get it done. We engage in the task and work with others who may be on our team. We may be involved in planning and strategizing for the activity. We take our commitment seriously.

Commitment aligned with purpose

In our world, many people find themselves over-committed. It almost seems strange if we have an abundance of free time. But, are we making a commitment to the right things? Let’s start by considering our purpose in life. What can we do, in our uniqueness, to impact our world?

Have you ever thought of putting a purpose statement in place? This is something that can change as you move through life. And, if it’s easier, you may want to establish a purpose for work, or home, or as a volunteer. Maybe your greatest purpose is to raise children to become kind, respectful, and responsible adults. Or, you feel a passion for supporting the fight against a specific disease so you make a commitment to volunteer with a relevant organization. The possibilities are endless and as unique as you are. 

A few years ago, I established a purpose statement for my writing projects that I’ve also adopted in my role of executive director of Mental Health Connect of Missouri: “To offer encouragement for life in a complicated world.” I believe I need to renew my commitment to that purpose. I want to move past the words and answer the call to action that is implicit in the statement. Offering encouragement to others does not happen without taking steps to do so.

A plan of action

Sometimes putting a plan of action in place can help. I am a list person and like to plan in order to prioritize my activities and follow through on my commitments. But, we need to be able to adjust our plans as needed. For example, this year, our nonprofit was going to organize a couple of conferences related to mental health. It didn’t happen, but we have had more time to plan for rejuvenating our programs in 2021. What commitments fell through for you this year? How did you adjust? What did you learn that you can carry over to next year?

As a Christian, I believe that God guides me. My commitments and purpose should align with his plans for me. It is comforting to realize that we can find our purpose as we trust in the Lord.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11, Holy Bible: New Living Translation)

What a beautiful promise. Are you ready to consider the commitments you want to make this year? Does it align with your purpose, or are you just keeping busy? Are you saying, “yes,” because you think you have to? Reflecting on your life’s purpose, and God’s plan, when considering your commitments can be beneficial. I’m ready! Are you?

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14, Holy Bible: New Living Translation)



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