*Blog Alert: This post exceeds “normal, suggested” blog word count and finding my one word has taken a little time. This post is straight from my heart and may take a little longer to read. My prayer is that somehow my processing helps you in some little way. Take your time, there is no rush. Maybe, like me, you really want this year to be different. You want it to bring you closer to God, closer to His true plan and purpose for your life, and closer to those loved ones in your sphere of influence. Let’s do this together. It is so much better, together.

My One Word for 2018

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

My One Word for 2018

When Raindrops Call

I woke up today with a million to-do’s on my list. A thousand words to get on paper. A few tasks begging to be done.

And then I heard the rain tapping overhead. It seemed to say, “Come aside. Let’s share a few moments of silence and consideration.”

Consideration means, “to give careful and considerate thought; a matter weighed or taken into account when formulating an opinion or plan.” Synonyms might be: ponder, account, deliberation, study, reflection, contemplation.”

I’ve been leaning in to God to hear my one word for 2018. After much consideration, the word that chose me is essence.

Why Essence?

I had a close friend say to me the other day, “Janell, it’s time to move on from the negative narrative. God has set you free.” I couldn’t agree more. Yet, with the brand new release of my newest book, I have to talk and write and share from that negative narrative, so it gets hard to just move on from it. That is why I pressed and prayed for the next book, Embracing Healing Words: Live Your Beautiful Life, to be written. Thankfully, Worthy Inspired, my publisher, agreed and it will be released late Fall 2018/Early 2019.

So, I am now knee deep in writing the words of that book, while marketing and teaching on this book. A glorious, welcome dilemma. Trust me, I am one grateful girl.

So all this writing and researching and studying has led me on a rich journey of self-discovery and heightened introspection—as if I’m not already hypersensitive and intuitive.

But, I can’t write what I don’t know—and trust me, when it comes to the heart and soul, there seems to be a never-ending abyss of discovery. I suppose that is why in the field of counseling and psychology there is also a never-ending abyss of study and schooling. Have you ever noticed how many letters some professionals in this field have behind their names? Yikes. Not easy for a recovering perfectionist. At some point, I just have to admit, I could never know it all and so I offer what I know, right now.

Becoming a Careful Self-Observer

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

One of the most critical aspects of heart work is taking the time to “self-observe” and keenly assess your personality and the way you emotionally move through life. This can all sound very “touchy-feely” and oft can be construed as “new age,” but sincerely, it is at the center of the gospel I know and love. Christ set this example when he “went away by himself (Luke 5:16),” even when crowds of needy, desperate people needed him. Scripture says he withdrew in order to pray and communicate with his Father. That’s all we are told, but I think we can assume it was to “find out his Father’s business,” and since he suffered every temptation known to man (Hebrews 4:15), perhaps we can assume to reconnect to his humanity, which would include his emotional state.

I so want to do the same. Know my Father’s business and reconnect to my humanity—to the essence of my true, God-breathed (Genesis 2:7, see Overcoming Hurtful Words, Practice 2 for more on this powerful truth) capacity, potential and purpose.

You see, we are born into this world freshly minted from God’s breath. But, in time—the world, our family of origins, systems, circumstances—impress their mark on us. I love the way Don Richard Riso, known as one of the foremost developers of the Enneagram, teaches us about this “self-observation”:

IF we observe ourselves carefully, we will discover that most of what goes on in us is the constant churning of our mechanical responses, little more than the machinery of our personality grinding along pretty much on its own. We find that our attention is constantly possessed by ever-changing fears and desires, fantasies and associations, that lead nowhere while keeping us out of touch with our deeper self. Ironically, we build our identity out of these chaotic and unconscious impulses—embracing them as our self, and defending them with our life.

He continues (bear with me…it will be worth it),

Ideas about observing ourselves, learning how to identify with our personality, and of practicing non-identification with our ego sound foreign and are rather threatening to most of us. And yet, if we think about it, we can probably recall moments of spontaneous non-identification: most of us have experienced times when we were free from our personality and its [usually negative] responses. Sometimes a life-threatening crisis brings such a moment, sometimes an act of selfless love, an experience of the grandeur of nature, or an encounter with death “wakes us up” to something deep in us that is not our personality and is also clearly not the product of our ego. Moments such as these are vivid and profoundly liberating. Looking back on them, we usually regard them as the time when we were most alive.

Free from our Personality? Free from the Product of our Ego?

My One Word for 2018

Yes, yes, yes. Please help me, God, be free from anything that isn’t the essence of who you created me to be. In my life, this looks like freedom from needing the Big A’s: the unnecessary approval, applause and affirmation of others. Note, unnecessary.

Bottom line: I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. No longer a “performer,” but a true, active participant in life. Fully alive. Fully engaged. Fully my true self. The one God breathed life into me to be.

Riso continues, “We need to find a way of waking up and of being more present to our own lives so that they can happen more frequently.” THEY, meaning those moments where we feel most alive.

An Enneagram Enthusiast

To help me get to my essence, I’m utilizing and studying something called the Enneagram. My dear friend, Kimberly, introduced me to this great ancient method of personality typing. I’ve done many so I wasn’t sold that this one would be any different. Boy, was I wrong. The Enneagram is different because it unveils the motives behind our personality behaviors and patterns and helps us become our most healthiest of selves—the exact motivation behind my own personal, heartlifting journey. As I wrote Overcoming Hurtful Words, I was driven by one thought, “Why do I allow people to both speak and treat me the way I do?” I discovered I had a big part in the why behind the hurtful words spoken to me.

Ok, enough for today! I will be posting more on my journey, right here, and over on our Facebook page. Join me there, please. For now, take a look at the Enneagram sites given in this post. Read about it. Take the short, free quiz. I’d love to hear what number you are and your thoughts about it all. If you need a coach to guide you in discovering your “essence,” contact my gifted comrade, Kimberly Roddy. Her intuitive, wise counsel would be a great gift to yourself.

And, for even more, listen to this engaging podcast interview with my friend, Daphne Delay, as we talk more in-depth about living with the Identity Advantage: http://daphnedelay.com/podcast/episode-135/.

P.S. Over on our Facebook page, guess what Enneagram number you think I am…I’ll enter your name into a raffle for a SURPRISE Enneagram gift! It’s a good one!