Alive: Checking In


This month’s One Word linkup is a three-month(ish) check-in. Well, Alive is still inspiring me and remains very applicable!

When I chose Alive, I knew it would mean dealing with negative emotions I’ve tried to sweep under the rug. Even after working on it for many years, I still feel guilty about feeling angry or discouraged. Especially since most of my anger and discouragement falls into one of two categories: things I can’t do much about, or things prompting me toward actions with problematic outcomes. Like many other Christians who bought the self-denial package early on, I tend to dismiss these feelings while reproaching myself to have a better attitude. Last year I realized that in the process of shutting myself off from negative emotions, I was also hardening my heart. My emotional range was narrowing quickly. It scared me, because God made me sensitive for a reason, as a gift, not to torment me. I’m convinced that to fulfill my purpose on this earth (whatever it is) and find happiness, I need to be fully myself and fully open to God and life. Opening the door to all that, accepting the messiness of it, was my main motivation for making Alive my word. Well, let’s just say it’s working. It’s not fun, but I keep reminding myself that it’s far preferable to being a well-behaved robot.

I think about my word almost every day. It’s especially easy lately, with the black-and-white starkness of winter giving way to a Technicolor nature cartoon. Alive is all around me. Even the knowledge that I’ll have to start mowing soon doesn’t dampen my excitement about the grass greening up. After this Longest Winter Ever, when I notice a new flower or tree in leaf, something in me relaxes. I feel more alive just because the world is too. I also remember my word whenever I wear my chai necklace.

Overall, I know Alive is the right word for me. I don’t feel that it’s disappointed me, so far, but sometimes I feel like I’m disappointing it. There’s so much to learn. I need to keep working on my openness to messiness, but I also want to become more and more attuned to beauty, joy, and God’s presence in the everyday. We still have over eight more months, but seriously, I don’t think this effort is going to end with 2014.

This post is part of a monthly One Word 365 linkup at The Messy Middle.

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

View all posts by Brenda W. →
Posted on
Posted in linkup, one word: alive, spring

7 Responses to Alive: Checking In

  1. Lisa says:

    Hey Brenda. I’m visiting from The Messy Middle. Whoa….I think we have something in common with our One Word as I happen to be one of those ” other Christians who bought the self-denial package early on”! My word follows along the same line, but my word is HONEST. I’ve got a ways to go too, but I’m just so glad to be conscious that I don’t need to deny my feelings…God can handle it. So glad I stopped by! Your words express some of my own feelings which helps in so many ways.

  2. Jamie Bagley says:

    Yeah, having one word for a year creates a habit of mindfulness and alertness toward that word. It doesn’t wear off easily. Practicing “enough” this year has turned into all sorts of reframing things for me. I see abundance in a new light, generosity in a new light, and there is less fear about scarcity. I’m definitely hopeful these lessons will stick well beyond 2014. So good to hear your update. I know sometimes it’s like, “dear life, please give me a break from the hard things” and the word anchors me in a good way that gives me hope because I know good work is being done in my life. I can see it in yours, too. Beautiful necklace, by the way.

  3. Amy Young says:

    Brenda — so many thoughts after reading this. One is that I need to write a guest post about anger and you’ve given me more to think about, so thanks for helping me :). And I hadn’t thought if we (or how we) can disappoint our word.

    I’m all over the place so now I’m going to bounce back to my guest post. Sorry for being random! In doing a bit of research, I listened to Gary Chapman’s book on anger and would recommend it.

    Thanks for linking up (and I recommended you as a potential guest poster for a friend, so you might be hearing from someone claiming to be my friend :)

  4. Carol says:

    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve bottled up my emotions. I’m better about it than I used to be, but it’s what I fall back on. I’m glad you’ve been allowing yourself open up and feel things, whether positive or negative. And that Agatha Christie quote you picked is really great.

Talk To Me