A year ago, I was at a conference where I was encouraged to choose a word that would be the theme of my year. We were given time to sit still, listen to our heart, meditate on the previous year and the year to come, and choose a word that would represent the year ahead. For me that year was 2015 and the word that came to mind was expand. It came to me so clearly but I had no reference for it. I didn't know why, or what it meant, but I felt so strongly that this was the word that would represent my year. At the time, I was working two part-time jobs. Both jobs I loved, but only one did I feel truly called to. The job I felt called to do was doing therapy with couples and individuals and I was working for someone else in his private practice at the time.
A few months later I started to feel restless and knew that something needed to change. I didn't want to give up the freedom and flexibility of doing private practice counseling, but I wanted something more consistent. With the word expand on my mind, I started looking into the possibility of working full time at my other job, or working for an agency where I would have consistent hours and clients every week.
After interviewing for multiple agencies (and not getting any of the positions I applied for - I have found that many agencies don't quite know what to do with a marriage and family therapist), I started to wonder if that word expand meant something else.
A small but persistent voice started to creep up in my head wondering about the possibility of starting my own business and going into private practice for myself. Expand....expand....expand.....
No, I thought. Too much work. Too expensive. Too scary. Too vulnerable. Too much of a risk. Too everything. But I timidly began bringing the idea up to my husband, friends and family to make sure that their reaction would be the same as mine. That they would validate my limiting fears. That they would tell me this was a terrible idea. But they said the opposite. My husband said "Why has it taken you this long to figure out this is what you need to do? I could have told you this years ago that you need to do this".
So in July of 2015 I started to expand. I expanded my heart, mind, and faith and started to ask myself "what if?". What if I could really do this? What if I possess the skill and experience to actually get this done? What if I can actually do this and succeed?
So I did it. I expanded. In November of 2015 I officially opened New Hope Counseling Center. I learned about bravery and vulnerability. I made LOTS of mistakes and learned from them. I learned about asking questions and starting from scratch. I'm still learning. I'm still expanding.
So now it's 2016. I've been thinking a lot about what my word will be for this year. For some reason, the word generosity keeps coming up over and over. I don't know what it means for me, but I'm going to go with it. If I know anything about God, it's that I'm constantly surprised and delighted by Him. As I look at 2015 in the rear view mirror and see all of the amazing things He did in my life, I know that 2016 will be no different.
What is your word for 2016? Leave a comment below and share!