So in late 2012 I asked the Lord to give me a word for 2013. He didn’t. He gave me three words: Engage, Embrace, and Enjoy. The same thing happened the year before, at the end of 2011. I asked for a word for the coming year and he gave me four words: BE More, DO Less.
In 2013 those three words (Engage, Embrace and Enjoy) echoed everywhere for me, all the way to the very end. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the Lord meant by those three words, but in the end I realized it wasn’t my job to figure it out, it was His job to REVEAL it. And He did, ALL YEAR LONG.
So as the year began to close down and the season of Advent arrived, it became apparent that those three words were an invitation to live in each moment with the Lord regardless of my circumstances. To engage, embrace, and enjoy each and every moment with whomever I was with and in whatever was happening. Even the ugly moments. Instead of hiding from the unpleasant and the ugly things to lean in to them with the Lord and allow Him to speak and heal.
For me, the Christmas season has historically been a time I feel the intense and overwhelming need to put on my armor and hide. For many, many reasons: the shopping, the expectations of others to get the perfect gift, the pressure for everyone to behave and perform and get along because it’s such a wonderful time of year. And it is a wonderful time of year, but the pressure and the expectations that it be perfect and that everyone smile and be happy make me want to crawl in a hole and come out with the groundhogs sometime in February.
But this year was different for me. The revelation of Engage, Embrace and Enjoy really started to take hold in my heart, partly through 31 Days of Advent in October.
This year I also felt a real sense of release to Engage, Embrace and Enjoy from Popey (even though he didn’t know it). Early one morning in December I called him at work and this is how the conversation went down:
Popey: “What do you have today?”
Kimmie: “Pam’s Christmas party (side bar: my FAVORITE EVENT AT CHRISTMAS EVERY SINGLE YEAR because the only expectation is to have FUN!) and then more shopping.”
Popey: “Have fun.”
Kimmie: [Heavy sarcasm] “Well, you know how much I ENJOY shopping.”
Popey: “Well, you need to enjoy your life.”
Then I promptly hung up and burst into tears because in his simple reply I heard a precious invitation from the Father, yet again, to enter into each moment and enjoy it for whatever it is and whatever it brings.
So I called Popey back:
Kimmie: “Thanks for telling me to enjoy my life.” [Sniff. Sniff.]
Popey: “You are welcome. I have to work now.”
So off I went engaging, embracing, enjoying. I had a blast through the rest of the Christmas season. The Saturday before Christmas I even ventured out one last time for some last minute shopping and enjoyed every minute of it (for those of you who know me in the 3D world, this is nothing short of miraculous). I rode around town with my sunroof open (that’s what winter in NC is like – very schizophrenic) listening to my satellite radio and just enjoyed being out, in public, with people.
I was so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for all the good things God has blessed me with that I just sang and wept. I cried like a little girl. One of the things I was most grateful for is a husband who loves me, wants God’s best for me and gives me the space to figure it out (mostly because he’s not sure what to do with me or for me, but also because he loves me).
So I finally figured it out, right? Well, I thought so. But in the interest of keeping it real and honest and not hiding my version of crazy…here’s the rest of the story…
The Sunday after Christmas Popey and I were enjoying a quiet, delicious meal at home, alone. He grilled the most fabulous steak I have had in a LONG time (he is known in certain circles as THE GRILL MASTER…which is the other main reason I love him, besides his money and his body (wink)). We had a little wine. We were both enjoying the evening, when I burst into tears. And the truth is I am not entirely sure why. I was just all of a sudden overwhelmed with an intense sense of loneliness, sadness, fear, and regret.
I didn’t just cry for a minute. I cried the ugly cry…all night…and most of the next day. And I am still not sure exactly why.
The bottom line? Even in the confusing, ugly and less pleasant place I found myself in at the end of the year, I still hear the whisper of the Father inviting me to Engage, Embrace and Enjoy. To lay down the right to understand everything, figure it out and fix it. I hear Him saying, “Just lean into it with Me. Don’t hide from it. I’ve got you.”
I asked Him for a word for 2014. He didn’t give me one. He gave me two: Fully Alive. I think He’s showing me this week, even in the middle of the ugly cry, what it’s like to be Fully Alive. Fully Alive doesn’t necessarily mean everything will be fixed and neatly tied in a bow. Fully Alive may be ugly and painful, but the operative word is ALIVE.
As opposed to DEAD.
Dead people don’t feel.
Alive people do, even when they don’t understand what they’re feeling.
So here’s to being Fully Alive in 2014 – the good, the bad and the ugly! I admit that I have no idea what that means at this moment, but I am ready to see what the Lord wants to show me. And I am willing to Engage, Embrace and Enjoy the process, no matter how dazed and confused I feel along the way.