Our Word for 2017: STEADY

olive chan —  January 7, 2017

“As we start this new year, I am sick, worn, and weary…” So began my journal entry on January 1, when Tim and I had our 9th annual Blue Day. For those unfamiliar with what a Blue Day is, we set aside a day to dream, to listen, and to plan for the year (you can read more about this practice in our free ebook, Fight With Me). This year was the first time we actually did it on New Year’s Day.

On our Blue Day, January 1, 2017

Perhaps it was because this was the first year in at least six years where I didn’t have any milestones to look forward to. No new baby, no school, no new business ventures, no significant birthday. I felt rather sad that 2016 was over. People close to me have exciting things lined up for 2017 – Tim is aiming to finish his new book, close friends and family are expecting babies, my parents have a big wedding anniversary – but personally, it felt like this was going to be a year of more of the same, of supporting and celebrating with, of witnessing. A bridesmaid year, so to speak.

“I think God is inviting me to be okay with the unremarkable.” I continued in my journal. I was not very eager about this idea. Part of me was afraid that I would get lost in the shuffle; that I would not matter. Then I realized it was my false self that desperately wanted to be recognized. The part of me that wanted excitement and attention was not the deepest, truest part of me.

The truest part of me was confident that this “lull” was exactly the right place for me at this time. Just as an airplane ascends and then reaches cruising altitude, our years of rapidly building our family and business had transitioned into a time of tending, nurturing and abiding. Or, to use a gardening analogy, the seeds had all sprouted and now we were tasked with the consistent work of watering and weeding. Not the most exciting or glamourous of times, but ultimately a very necessary and indispensible part of the process.

Tim’s main focus this year is continuing to establish our marketing company. We have three years under our belt and have gained confidence, experience, and clarity in the best way we can serve businesses and organizations. This year we are building a team and our systems to improve our help to current customers and have the capacity to serve new ones. This is important work, building infrastructure for the future of not only our business, but to support our family as well. My role is to support Tim – through my contributions at work, but even more through shouldering the bulk of our household responsibilities.

I still hold my own dreams of developing a career in offering Spiritual Direction. But I know that yet again, this is not the year for me to be actively engaging in further education. Instead, it is a good practice for me to sit in this tension so often felt by mothers of young children – the struggle between serving those around me while maintaining my own interests and identity. Holding this tension is equipping me to have more empathy and wisdom to offer to others when the time does come for me to formally pursue being a spiritual director. In the midst of this season where it feels like not much is happening, I am leaving space for deeper growth to occur.

As part of our Blue Day many years ago, we incorporated choosing one word as a theme for the year. In past years, we’d chosen words such as “moments,” “courage,” and “establish.” For 2017, our word is “STEADY.” We don’t know what curveballs life might hold, but we are going to keep doing what we’re doing. Slow and steady. That’ll be this year.