Open up.
Let the light in.
Let love in.

Clear your mind.
Prepare your heart.
Posture your spirit.

Beauty is everywhere.
Grace abounds.
Help and gifts are plentiful.

Don’t you see it?
How could you miss it?
Slow down. Allow. Receive.

Receive is my One Word for the year. Eight days in and it is already challenging me profoundly.

There is a connectedness, interdependence and cycle I have continued to fight. I have pushed and pushed and pushed until I was sick or had to sleep for a whole day. I have given and given and given until I was frustrated and resentful. I have worked and worked and worked until I forgot what it meant to play and enjoy. These are not the natural rhythms of life.

I have been too proud to ask for help or take it when offered. Too ashamed to let someone love me. Too focused on others to notice what I needed. Too caught up in all that I am not to receive a compliment about who I am.

In order to give, we must receive. This is the two-way natural cycle that I have been blocking. We have to be restored and refilled if we wish to give anything of quality to others and to our world. In a culture that pushes us into more, more, more and faster, faster, faster we have to be intentional about creating that two-way cycle: taking pauses, regrouping, slowing down, and posturing ourselves to enter the world differently. Consider these words from Krista Tippett: “I’m determined not to live constantly on the edge of exhaustion as I did before. I’m aware of the magnitude of transformation that is before us if we are to meet the vast challenges of our world in the most life-giving ways, with the best capacities of our humanity. That’s language you may have heard me use many times before. What has changed is the fierceness with which I intend to honor that the best of my capacities include and require restoration, and laughter and joy, and “fun” as the Archbishop [Desmond Tutu] said, if they are to be life-giving and grounded and sustainable. They require replenishment.”

I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it too. I’ve been fighting this battle for years: I don’t have time. I can’t slow down. Let’s lean into that. What’s behind that way of thinking for you, my friend?

Do you feel unworthy of rest, help from others, and taking care of yourself? Be honest. Do you believe that you are good enough right now in this moment just the way you are? Do you believe that you don’t have to “do” anything in order to be of value or to be loved? The fact is, that is the truth. No matter who you are or what you’ve done. You are loved for the human that you are. You were loved the moment you entered this world. Think about it, a baby is born and we have no expectations of that little being except to be and we love that little human with all our heart. So it was for you when you came into the world, and so it will be until the day you die.

Consider this from one of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen, “Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarized in the words ‘know you are welcome.'” It is counter-cultural to believe that every human life matters and that every human being is valuable. Part of that reason is because we don’t see the value in ourselves unless it’s attached to accomplishments and praise from others. Friend, you have to find the Divine in you. You have to stop holding yourself back from abundance, love and success and RECEIVE your worthiness and the love that is yours for the taking. Accept it.

Are you afraid of what opportunities you might miss out on? As someone studying the patterns in my own life, I can tell you that you already are. I have been so focused on goals and getting things done that I missed millions of opportunities to witness beauty, experience a moment of joy, connect deeply, have a meaningful conversation, and on and on and on. When we are in a hurry, we get into a mode of exerting and shut off our capacity to RECEIVE. We push, force, give, etc.

What would it look like to live moment to moment in a mode of equal giving and receiving? I’ve been contemplating this lately. My heart would be soft. My mind would be clear and open. My pace would be steady. My body would be relaxed. I would have a smile on my face. My spirit would be calm. If I can walk through the world in that way, I’m confident I won’t be missing opportunities. I will be present and purposeful in each moment. That’s what I’m going to work on with RECEIVE this year.

Are you nervous about what people might think? It’s easy to say “let that go” but we all worry about the perceptions of others. This year I will be challenging myself to listen to and consider the perceptions of those I care about and respect. Most of the people who think this idea of slowing down to RECEIVE is crazy are not role models for who I want to be, so why listen to them? I am interested in RECEIVING wisdom from elders. People who have lived a good life and who have done good work. Not those who are famous. Not those who are hustling. I want to hear from those who are healthy, those who are whole. Those who do not regret their life or the choices they’ve made. Those willing to challenge the status quo. The people who have magnetic energy and make me feel good. Those who see the good in people and the beauty in the world. Who want to connect deeply and talk about things that matter. I want to RECEIVE whatever it is they have to offer. So I will be more intentional about seeking out those people, and I will be intentional about guarding myself from the rest.

Are you afraid that you won’t get it all done? You won’t. This last year, I said to my coach more than once, “How do I know that I’m using my time to honor God and this life He has given me?” My spirit was frantic. My thoughts were rilled with things like, “I don’t have enough time. I’m not doing enough. Am I doing the right things?” What I realized in reflecting on that the past few weeks is that this two-way cycle had gotten way out of whack. How can I know if I’m honoring God with my life and time if I don’t ask Him? There was no quiet time to ask and RECEIVE the answer. Just hustling to do more. How could I know if I was doing the right things if I never made time and space to ask? We can’t be confident that we are doing enough until we slow down enough to take inventory of what we are doing. We have to move into silence and solitude to RECEIVE the answers we seek. Isn’t it obvious, friends? The hardest things to do usually are.

I’m excited to learn more from this word RECEIVE as the year goes on. It has already challenged and changed me in a short time. The test will be to set up my routines and practices in a way that allows me to stay open, present, aware and postured RECEIVE. To catch myself when I feel resistant to RECEIVING a compliment or help or love. Stay tuned…it’s going to be a messy, difficult, beautiful ride!

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