As a goal-oriented human being, I like to make lists.
I make a weekly to-do list at work and then determine which project I’ll complete each day that week. Like a weirdo, I prioritize each daily item and aim to tackle them in set order.
I make five-year goal lists in my personal life. I’ve planned out how much money I’ll have saved in my savings account by year, when I’ll purchase a new car, and so on. For the most part, it all plays out as planned. My husband and I luckily have this love of lists in common. How people cruise through life without them, I’ll never understand.
But, as a complicated human, writing down a list of annual New Year’s resolutions is where I draw the line.
Don’t get me wrong—I’ve tried it.
But one more list was just too overwhelming. So I simplified it. One positive word to focus on for the year seemed like a happy medium.
My chosen word for 2017 is faith.
I chose this word because I needed it. If you can’t tell already, I’m a teensy bit of a Type A personality. I’m a Quality Management Director by day. I mean, c’mon—I collect data, analyze for trends and patterns, and develop and manage initiatives for a living. And I actually like it.
My life is generally planned out in 15-minute increments. I stay busy most hours of my day. You get the picture here: I control my life. Right?
In 2016, my word was “gutsy.” I tried all the things, even if they scared me. It was exhausting, but overall, a great experience. While wearing the word gutsy for all of 2016, I learned that putting myself out there came with a big risk. It made me vulnerable to getting some nos in my semi-predictable life. In playing with being gutsy, I got some hard nos last year that shook my faith.
As the driver of my life, I don’t need people to tell me when I’m good at something. I tend to have the confidence to know that already. But damn it, it hurts when life throws you curve balls and knocks you off your high horse and planned-out life.
When you work hard, you’re supposed to get rewarded. When you dream, plan things out, and hustle, you reap the benefits. That’s how life is supposed to work.
When it doesn’t, you wonder what you’re doing wrong, what you need to be doing right, and for me, I wonder what my purpose is.
My confidence was shaken last year when the plan I set in motion in my head and on paper wasn’t panning out, but it turned out that the derailment was much needed in a healthy way.
I confided in a trusted friend who calls it out how she sees is. Don’t you love those people in your life? Lucky for me, she’s also wise and loves me. I vulnerably shared my struggle with rejection in my personal and professional life. She then proceeded to provide me with some helpful tools that I was smart and desperate enough to try: mediation and mindful living reading and listening materials. Truthfully, she had been preaching this to me for about a year, but I wasn’t ready to listen then.
After some serious soul-searching, I decided that trusting in the process was what I needed most. I gave this mediation stuff a try and tried to wrap my head around feeling confident in the path laid out before me.
I’d heard this “trust in the process” phrase before and wondered what it meant. You create your own life. If a door doesn’t open, build a new door and walk through that b*tch with your head held high.
That’s not so much my attitude now.
When I first chose faith, I wanted to practice it in every way I believed it was attainable. I wanted to find a church home I loved. I was born and raised Catholic. At the start of the year, I felt guilty about missing mass or any church service. I knew I needed to figure out how to get Jesus, Mary, and all the saints back in my life again.
As a bad Catholic, for a few years now, I’ve at the very least always practiced prayer. But can you pray enough? Is there such a thing? I wanted to figure out how to pray more.
But most of all, outside of the obvious church participation I yearned for, I wanted to learn to trust. I wanted to learn how to “trust the process.” Trust that although I didn’t know why I was being challenged in ways I really didn’t like, it was because that was part of my journey. I wanted to trust that nos I got were because something greater was waiting for me. And not just saying it, but wholeheartedly believing it.
Faith, so far this year, has shown me that getting nos doesn’t get easier. I got some pretty awful feeling nos in 2017. But honest to God, I understand that every wall that’s gone up in my path is just a detour in the right direction. Shout out to Gabby Bernstein for that line and lesson.
I thought that faith would get me to start visiting churches so I could find the right fit for my husband and me. I thought it would mean going to visit the Catholic church my husband and I were married in almost nine years ago. We wouldn’t go every week, but at the very least, it’d be added into our church rotation schedule. I thought it would mean that by this far into the year, I’d be set up and “enrolled” in a church where a pastor would enlighten me weekly. He or she would be entrusted to baptize our future children. Life would be wonderful. We’d meet another childless Christian couple to drink wine and play cards with in the suburbs and my life would be complete.
I haven’t attended mass this year. Not even once. I’ve visited some churches this year, but none that gave me all the feels. Not one ounce of me feels that old Catholic guilt creeping back in because I haven’t taken communion. I don’t miss confession. I don’t think I’m going to hell. And yet, I feel the most faithful I’ve felt in a very long time.
So many times this year, I’ve had to lean on my faith when things didn’t seem to be working out as I envisioned. And then this strange thing started happening. I started to believe and even understand why some things weren’t working out how I originally thought would be best. Pretty soon, it led me to acceptance.
I’m reading. I’m meditating. I’m praying a lot. I’m active in my community. I’m loved. I give love. I’m still gutsy, trying things out that scare my safe and happy world. Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But when I fall, I get back up. The universe is giving me what I need right now. And I choose to trust it every day.
Author: Rosy Crumpton
Image: Oakley Foxtrot/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina