to seek information
to request something
As I started to pray about what my word of the year in 2019 should be, the word, “ask,” has come up time and time again. I’m sure many of you have heard about choosing a word of the year, but for those of you who have not let me indulge you. There are a number of reasons people will select a word of the year.
For me, choosing a word of the year has served as a focal point for me throughout the year. It’s a kind of theme if you will. I have chosen a word for the past four years and I love reflecting back and seeing the ways the word showed up during those 365 days. It’s served as a way to keep me focused on where I want to grow, where I want to lean in, and where I want to linger.
So, as 2019 crept around the corner at a much faster pace than I would have liked, the word “ask” appeared over and over again. By now, being the intelligent reader I know you are, you have probably figured out my word of the year in 2019 is “ask.”
Now, stick with me while I unpack the significance behind my word of the year.
In 2018, my word of the year was “love.” I know what you’re all thinking, “romantic love, finding a soul mate, settling down.” No, not quite, sorry to burst any bubbles if you thought this post would contain some juicy details about some man I met in 2018 who is now ultimately the love of my life. We'll save that dish for another day.
The focus of my word of the year in 2018 was on knowing the love of God and learning to love myself. So, in my attempt to find tangible ways to do that, I bought a journal. Then, for my birthday, I asked people to write in this journal. I asked them to share words of encouragement that I could turn to when I wasn’t feeling so loved. And people showed up and showed out with the most extravagant words of affirmation and love.
I cherish the words in that book. It is by far the best gift I have ever received. I call it my “birthday book” and I 10/10 recommend it for everyone. There’s such power in words and those words have transformed me from the inside out. This is a birthday tradition I will carry on.
That birthday book became even more meaningful and sacred to me when my dear friend, Becky, passed away in November. Becky was known for her beautiful handwritten notes, always written in lower case letters, and sprinkled with stars. But, not the stars with the lines that we learn to draw in kindergarten, she drew advanced level stars.
I didn’t know when I asked Becky to write in my birthday book that two months later she would be diagnosed with cancer. I definitely didn’t know that when I asked her to write in my birthday book it would be her first and last time writing in my birthday book. And I most definitely didn’t know when I asked her to write in my birthday book that I would end up turning to her four-page letter hundreds of times just to feel like she was with me again.
I have read her letter probably 234 times since November 27, 2018, and each time I can hear her voice like she’s sitting next to me reading it to me herself.
I won’t share all of what Beck wrote in my birthday book, but I will share this blurb:
“may this be the year where the love of the Father, the love of Christ, and the love of the sweet Spirit of God come to rest - to #abide- in your heart, ker.
He is good. His hand is on your life so clearly.
ask comes to mind...it seems like you need to boldly ask God to reveal and demonstrate His love for you in tangible ways.
“ask and it will be given to you.”
go for it.
I can’t wait to hear all the ways He shows you his love.”
Becky was the best with words and I can only imagine her conversations with the Lord as I write this.
2018 was the year of love. I learned about love in painful ways by losing someone I love so dearly.
2019 is about asking and while Becky’s blurb in my birthday book inspired the word, the word is multi-faceted in its meaning for this year.
So, what does “ask” look like in 2019:
It looks like asking God more bold questions. Asking Him the tough questions and being okay with not getting the answers I want or even answers at all sometimes.
It looks like asking the people around me more about what they mean and who they are and not settling for the surface level conversations. It looks like deeper relationships.
It looks like asking more questions I don’t know the answer to without the fear of being seen as stupid, or ignorant, or dumb. It looks like broadening my view of the world.
It looks like asking for help when I need it and dropping the facade that I have got it all figured out my own.
It looks like asking the hard questions in relationships where I might be afraid to know the truth. It looks like embracing the answers, even when they aren't easy to hear.
It looks like boldly asking for opportunities rather than sitting by with my hands folded watching them pass by.
What “ask” comes down to is:
stirring up a childlike curiosity again
listening intently, eagerly, and actively
ditching assumptions and facades
leaning in and going deeper
And when I really think about “ask” it comes down to being vulnerable and it comes down to letting go of the fear of what people might say or think.
Think about it: what would our world be like if we asked more questions and assumed less?
I see a kinder world. A more patient world. A world marked by love and understanding.
Who knows what this year will actually look like, but here’s to embracing the question marks.
How are you marking the new year?
rest in peace, my sweet becky.