One Word 2013

enough: not less than, not more than


I've spent my entire life on a seesaw, teetering back and forth between feeling like I am too much and feeling like I am too little.

My insecurities keep me convinced that I'm "too little"—that I'm simply not enough. I'm not old enough, married enough, mother enough. I'm not spiritual enough, experienced enough, educated enough. I'm not the right gender, the right personality, the right fit. My skills are too few and my flaws are too many. I simply don't measure up. I'm too little.

My fears keep me convinced that I'm "too much"—that I'm a burden, an inconvenience. I'm tolerated, rather than desired. I'm accepted, not chosen. I'm a project, an obligation, a responsibility. My baggage is too heavy, my laugh is too loud, my diving-all-in is too fast. I'm a challenge to be endured, not a friend to be sought after. I'm simply more than anyone bargained for. I'm too much.

My One Word for 2013 was enough. While I didn't end the year conquering this lifelong achilles heel of mine, I did learn to embrace my enoughness more than I ever have before. I feel oddly more comfortable in my own skin, and though I still care far too much about what other people think, I'm learning to let it go much quicker.

Embracing my enoughness means learning to silence my insecurities, fears, and expectations. It requires extending more grace to myself—and trusting others enough to take them at their word. It is also a journey of gratitude, recognizing that what I have—and who I have—is enough.

I am not too little or too much. I am not less than or more than. I am simply enough. And that's all I need to be.

photo credit


if i could

tree line

If I could find big enough words, I would tell you how grateful I am for the big-hearted, generous, and faithful loved ones who’ve walked with me, supported me, and strengthened me since I left African soil.

If I could find deep enough words, I would describe for you how unbelievably amazing it feels to be this settled after so many years of transitional limbo—and how good for my heart it has been.

If I could find strong enough words, I would explain my newfound understanding and awareness of grace.

If I could find clear enough words, I would recount for you my daily journey of learning to acknowledge and own that I am enough, and I have enough, because of the enoughness of Christ in me.

If I could find impactful enough words, I would articulate for you the ways I’m embracing a lack of plans, and my discovery that it really is okay.

If I could find weighty enough words, I would convey to you the matchless, anchoring, and freeing sense of home I’m discovering once again.

If I could... I would.

But I can’t...

one word journey: enough!

boundries A friend asked me about my One Word recently: Enough. I explained the significance it holds for me: my journey to know and believe more deeply that I am enough. After his initial response about how that resonated with him, he teased that he'd thought I was going to say it meant "I've had enough!" We laughed about how that meaning certainly works as well, especially after the past few years of my life. Enough!

And I've been thinking about that ever since.

Though the two meanings seem very different, I realized they are more related to each other than I would have first guessed. I will only set healthy boundaries for myself when I truly believe I am worthy of safeguarding. I won't declare "Enough!" to those situations and individuals that deplete me and attempt to diminish my worthiness until I think I'm worth more than how I'm being treated.

Learning to embrace my own enoughness gives me the strength, courage, and voice to say Enough! when I need to.

I have to believe I am enough in order to say "Enough!"

There's a vulnerability in setting boundaries. Deep fears rise to the surface as my inner dialogue kicks into high gear:

You are going to disappoint someone with this decision. Don't let other people down. Be a good friend. Make others happy. Do what's best for others. If you turn this down, you might not be included again. You'll always be left out. You have to make this work. You should be able to tackle all this and then some. You're being selfish by choosing what's best for yourself.

Embracing my enoughness means engaging with that vulnerability—leaning into it rather than away from it. It means making the difficult decisions and setting the hard boundaries, in spite of the risk, in face of the fears. It's believing that ultimately I'm worth it—no matter what.

So, surprisingly to me, part of my One Word 365 journey towards owning that I am enough, is learning to recognize, embrace, and own the boundaries I need to set and enforce in my life. Even while I still fail at this often, only realizing after the fact that a situation was an opportunity for me to set a boundary — a need to say yes or no to something for myself — at least I'm seeing it, even if it's in hindsight. That is already a step in the right direction.

I'm choosing to celebrate every sign of progress. Here's to each little step forward on this journey, friends!

... ... ...

I'd imagine I'm not the only one who's been surprised by where my One Word has taken me this year. Has your word taken on a shape you hadn't even anticipated or expected?

We are almost halfway through the year, so let's check in with one another. How is your One Word journey going? How has your word surprised you and taken shape in your life?  Write a mile-marker post on your blog and come back to link up. 

Originally posted on SheLovesMagazine. Read the comments there >

all that matters

enough Some days are harder than others on this whole "I am enough" journey.

Some days it seems as though everyone is shouting at me with their words, their actions, and everything in between, that once again I don't measure up. I'm not enough.

Some days the demons grow louder, my heart grows quieter, and I feel myself shrinking inside. Cringing away from others, from hope, from myself. It's hard to believe — really, truly believe — that I'm enough when everything seems to tell me otherwise. And I crumble at my core—sometimes slowly, as if my foundation is being chipped away, and other times all at once, like a tsunami washed it out from under me.

And then I lay my head on my pillow at the end of another exhausting day, close my teary eyes, and ask Him for the grace to try again tomorrow. I mutter those three challenging words over and over and over:

I am enough. I am enough. I am enough.

Then I open my eyes, with the sun and my alarm, and at once, I have to fight the scarcity that immediately rushes in close — telling me I'm already starting the day without enough sleep, without enough time to do what needs to be done, without enough friends or family or purpose or plans. Already not enough before my feet hit the floor.

And I have to once again close my eyes and ask Him for His more-than-enough grace to carry me. Fill me. Uphold me. Remind me. Center me.

I am enough because I AM is enough.

And, whether I like it or not, whether I believe it or not, whether I feel it or not, that is all that matters.

write now

Sometimes -- more often than I'd like to admit -- that old crazy-making feeling comes back. And I feel as though I must be crazy because there's no other explanation possible.

I must've done something wrong. I must've messed up somewhere. I wonder what I did to upset them? Hurt them? Cause them to treat me differently?

When I can't figure out the answers -- even when I ask -- then I'm left with that age-old sense that I must just be crazy. It's all in my head, I guess.

And now I'm forced to reconcile that with this whole "I am enough" thing. And I find it impossible to believe in my enoughness when I feel crazy.

Because crazy trumps everything, you know?

Or does it?

Even if I am crazy, am I not still enough?

Dang. That'll get me thinking...

This post feels like an infinity pool -- no clear end in sight. So all I can say is the same as always -- I have no answers. No conclusions. No cloud-lifting "a-ha!" moments. Just a wrestling and a commitment to stay in the tension rather than run from it.

Crazy or not, here I come.

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hustling for worthiness

"As I conducted my research, I realized that only one thing separated the men and women who felt a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seem to be struggling for it. That one thing is the belief in their worthiness. It’s as simple and complicated as this: If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.

When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving."

-Brené Brown

tabula rasa

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The pessimist in me (or as I prefer to call it, the realist) struggles to see a new year as a fresh start. Because really, the only thing that makes January 1st remarkably different than December 31st is that it lies on a new calendar. It's just another day.

But the longing-to-hope part of me acknowledges the new beginnings that come with a new year. I can see the tabula rasa — the blank slate — of a new calendar. It's a blatant opportunity to leave yesterday's baggage behind and move forward with a clean start.

And yet I find myself instinctively clinging to baggage like a flotation device.

Baggage like my deeply-rooted feelings of shame, rejection, and not-enough-ness. Baggage like my insecurities and fears—of failure, of abandonment, of not measuring up.

I cling to them like my life depends on it—when in actuality they're not life preservers, but deadweights that keep me fighting to stay afloat.

So I close my eyes tight and repeat over and over: I am enough.

And with each whisper, my fingers ever-so-slightly start to loosen their death grip.

A new year. A new day. A new moment. Tabula rasa.

I am enough.

it's not about doing more

I've lived most of my life by shoulds. Growing up, I was the all-American good girl. I did well in school. I went on mission trips. I moved to Africa when I was 19 to serve as a missionary. I did everything "right". By the book. The way I was supposed to, expected to, told to. The way I should. But the treadmill of striving is exhausting. If only I could do more... If only I could do better... Yet for every should I managed to check off, more got added to the list. It was a vicious cycle of defeat.

In my painful journey of the past few years, I realized how badly I needed to stop should-ing on myself. And I discovered how challenging it can be to get off that treadmill.

One of the ways I've found some freedom from the should shackles has been by ditching New Year's Resolutions. I used to make a long list of goals I'd like to achieve in the new year, but never managed to live up to them (or, at times, even remember what they were).

It only left me feeling like a failure.

So I began choosing just One Word as I step into a new year. One word that sums up who I want to be, or a character trait I want to develop, or an attribute I want to intentionally add to my life.

And since it's just one word, it's easy to remember. I place reminders of it around my home and workspace, and I inevitably start seeing and hearing it everywhere, which helps me stay mindful of it.

One year, I committed to risk more—it forced me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn't ordinarily do. Another year, my word was look—it gave me eyes to see God's divine fingerprints even in the darkest of moments. This past year, my word was choose—a daily reminder that while I can't control what happens to me, I can always choose my response.

My One Word isn't another to-do list. It's simply a guide as I make decisions, set plans, and go about my every day.

And I've seen these words shape not only my year, but also myself. They've challenged me, inspired me, changed me. Such is the power of intentionality.

I've chosen enough as my One Word for 2013, and with equal parts trepidation and curiosity, I am anxious to see how it will grow me this coming year.

Will you join me in choosing One Word for the year? It's not about doing more, but about being who you were created to be.

Maybe a word popped right into your head. Maybe you need to let the idea percolate a bit longer. Either way, more often than not, your word finds you.

You’ll probably have a love/hate relationship with it. That’s okay. If it doesn’t scare you at least a little bit, it’s probably not the right word.

So… Together, let's stop should-ing on ourselves.

What do you want to focus on in 2013? Who do you want to be by the end of the year?

Once you've landed on your word, write a blog post about it. Then add it to the community link-up on the One Word 365 site.

Originally posted on SheLovesMagazine. Read the comments there >

resolution revolution

focus. clarity. I don’t know about you, but New Year’s Resolutions always used to leave me feeling like a big fat failure. Six weeks into the new year, inevitably I’d barely be able to recall what was on my lofty list of goals... which meant I’d obviously not been doing much to work on them.

I’d beat myself up over it, and try harder. But in an oddly contradictory kind of way, making a list of resolutions paralyzed me from achieving them. It was a mental roadblock I just couldn’t seem to conquer. So I scrapped the idea altogether.

And in my own personal resolution revolution, I started choosing just One Word to focus on all year. 

Just One Word, because that’s easy to remember all year long. I place visible reminders of it around my home and workspace, keeping my word ever before me.

It’s become a spiritual discipline of sorts.

Each year, my One Word stands as a touchstone: a reminder not of what I need to do, but of who I want to be.

It becomes the filter through which I make decisions; the home-base to which I return when I’m unsure which way to go. It forces clarity and helps me concentrate my efforts, energy, and time on intentional growth.

It’s a simple concept, but not an easy one. My One Word has always been a challenge more than a comfort. It’s like a pebble in my shoe—an unavoidable nuisance, a constant nudge, a discomfort that causes me to walk differently.

I always have a love/hate relationship with my One Word—and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I figure if it doesn’t scare me at least a little, it’s probably not the right word.

Many of the Deeper Story writers have embraced the One Word practice as well, and found it equally life-changing:

Sarah Bessey: "As the year unfolded, I began to realise that my little nudge to choose Fearless was more of a gigantic shove off a cliff by the Holy Spirit, a sort of dinner bell clanging “COME AND GET IT!” for almost every fear and insecurity I’ve petted, hidden, and indulged in my life. I don’t think I’m fearless now. Not by a long shot. I am braver. I am practicing fearlessness, over and over, with the hope it takes deep hold in my life. I want to carry this word with me, for the rest of my life, every day. This has profoundly changed me."

Kelley Nikondeha: "My word for 2012 was Covenant. The word unfolded as commitment, life-long fidelity and tethering to traditions that anchor and nourish me. I found covenant touched my connection to God, to my spouse and even my children—how do I lean into fidelity toward them daily? One Word allows me to focus, the word works on me and in me mysteriously. But, as a cognitive girl, I also allow the definition of the word to flower and unfold over the year so that the meaning is richer now than before."

Elora Ramirez: "Two years ago, my word for the year collided with my heart. As I glanced around at the shattered pieces around me, I wondered how in the world God would bring jubilee to such a place as this :: a broken hope, wounded and wanting. And this past year? He wanted me to abide. For a girl who runs – for a heart that hides – this proved excruciating. I will not lie :: these past two years have been hard. But what’s left is beautiful – a deeper understanding of His love, a freedom to live in His light and a readiness to breathe deep and jump."

Will you join us in our resolution revolution?

Quiet your heart and see what word rises to the surface. Who do you want to be? What character trait do you want to intentionally develop? How do you want to live your life?

Let’s focus this year not on doing more, but on being who we were created to be. 


Once you've landed on your word, write a blog post about it, and post it on January 4th to join in our synchroblog. Then add it to the community link-up on the One Word 365 site.

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Originally posted on A Deeper Story. Read the comments there >

one word: enough

I have lived my life on a treadmill of striving.

Always working hard to get things just right... trying to please everybody around me... thinking if I could just do more or do better, then maybe—just maybe—I'd be enough.

The tracks are stuck on repeat in my mind, telling me I'm not smart enough, not cool enough, not spiritual enough, not lovable enough, not _____ enough. Which leaves me just trying to run faster on the treadmill: exhausted, but no further along than I was before.

This year, I'm choosing to step off the treadmill, to shatter the record that's been skipping for 34 years. My One Word for 2013 is enough.

No matter what labels others stick on me—or even that I stick on myself—His banner over me is love.

I am His.

I am loved.

I am enough.

My One Words the past few years have all been verbs—RiskLook. Choose. This year, I needed a word that reminds me—even in its form of speech—that it's not about doing more, but about being who He created me to be. And simply embracing my enoughness rather than striving to accomplish something.

I am not perfect, but I am enough.

I am not more than, not less than. But I am enough.

I won't always fit in, or feel valued, or be loved well. But still, I am enough.

I won't get everything right or accomplish as much as others do (or as much as I want to). I will mess up, falter, and fail. I will hurt and be hurt. I may be discarded, forgotten, replaced. But I am enough.

Those three simple words—I am enough—are so difficult for me to say. To accept. To believe. But I want them to sink down deep in my heart.

I am equally terrified and intrigued to see how enough will grow me this year. Here's to the journey!

Have you chosen your One Word for 2013?