Shortly after receiving the worst but best gift when my former husband asked for a divorce on Christmas Day, I decided to do something uncharacteristic for me: I gave the upcoming New Year a name. "Never Alone 2012," was the moniker I chose, never imagining how meaningful it would become to me in the days ahead. Through months of grieving alone in an apartment far removed from the home we had shared, these words provided comfort and a powerful reminder that though I was very much alone, I have never been and was not then, alone. In my internal world, I am not alone because my Higher Power is ever present and my external world is filled with family and friends who have been anchors for me in the storms of the past months.
In December of 2012, I gave a name to 2013 in response to hearing God whisper, "Will you trust me to be your provider?" in church one Sunday morning. The name I chose was "Provision 2013." And God did provide over and above what I needed in every area of my life. By the end of the year I was employed, had full health benefits and had moved into my own little piece of real estate. I am beginning to climb out of the financial devastation my ex-husband's arrest and subsequent termination from employment created. And I am learning that provision for my needs does not rest solely on my shoulders--I have someone greater than myself who continues to prove Himself completely capable of providing for me.
Now that 2014 has arrived, I've been thinking of what I want for this new year and three words keep rattling around in my brain. The first word is "Prosper," which is usually thought of in terms of succeeding materially. And certainly, I desire to prosper financially. But more than financial prosperity, I long for emotional, physical and spiritual prosperity. I want to flourish, thrive and do well in every area of my life. I am beginning to reap the rewards of working on my internal world and I anticipate further growth and progress. But beyond mere survival or barely scraping by, I want to prosper. So I recall what the prophet Jeremiah wrote so many centuries ago--my Higher Power's plans for my life include prosperity. I want to see that applied to my internal and external worlds in the next 12 months.
The second and third words are keys, I believe, to truly experiencing fullness and blooming in life. "Transform"refers to a thorough or dramatic change, a metamorphosis, overhaul, remodel or reworking of the form, appearance or characteristic of a person or thing. If I am to prosper, then my thinking needs to be transformed, according to Paul and "The Big Book" (Alcoholic's Anonymous). One area that is in dire need of thought transformation is in my view of self. One of the consequences I am discovering of my long-term involvement with a narcissist, is in the very negative way that I view myself. Before we became engaged, my ex-husband expressed concern that my physical appearance would hold him back in his chosen profession. I was too young, naive, and broken to see this as a narcissistic ploy but instead internalized his criticism and vowed to make myself indispensable to him to compensate for my physical deficiencies. I see now how I set myself up for many years of pain and if I am to prosper, then this thinking pattern has to change.
My self loathing needs to change to delight. To "delight" in something means that we take great pleasure in it or that it is a cause or source of great joy. Contrary to what many of us have been taught, loving self is key to loving others. A healthy self-love or delight is a preventative measure--it will keep me from being seduced by yet another narcissist and will inoculate me against the daily onslaught of media messages that equate my physical appearance with my worth or value. My body does not meet that standard of perfection and never will. But it is good enough--it is healthy and has served me well. It has carried and nourished three perfectly wonderful human beings. It is worthy of delight just as it is. If I am to prosper or blossom then I need to delight in the blooming, beautiful person that I already am.
So my three words for 2014 are Prosper, Transform and Delight. They do not rhyme and are not set to a catchy jingle. But they form the backbone of my desire for 2014: that I prosper in every area of my life; that my stinking thinking be transformed and that I learn to delight in the woman that I have become.