Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, my group of girlfriends has a “New Year’s Word.” A word that comes to us by divine appointment, sometimes cheerfully, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with wrestling to the ground. The last two years, I’ve loved my words. Two years ago was “abide” and last year was “well.” Lots of inhaling and exhaling, connection to God and others, going deep and realizing no matter the situation I am in “it is well with my soul.” I loved my words as I felt to live them well, I got to do a lot of sitting, meditating, just being with myself and God and feeling deeply connected and deeply nourished.
This year has been more of a wrestling match. I don’t actually like my word very much. I don’t like the way the word feels in my mouth. I don’t like the yucky, materialistic feeling that goes along with saying the word out loud. I don’t even really want to type it. I’ve tried to shake it off and come up with another word, but this one keeps sticking.
I mean, why couldn’t my word be thrive or flourish or effervesce. Or even just champagne. That would be a good word.
Because when I think of prosper, I unfortunately think of Donald Trump. I think of money and materialism and all the stuff I try to pretend that I don’t want. Like the 5th grade kids I ate lunch with today who told me that in their backyard they have a full size regulation basketball court, a couple of tennis courts and a tree house you can live in. They also live next door to the batcave. Well, actually Wayne Manor burnt down some years ago and they’re just now rebuilding, and the kid sitting next to the kid with an entire Olympic village in his backyard told me the new house was likely to be 20,000 sq ft, which would totally dwarf his grandmother’s 10,000 sq ft house. Bummer.
I don’t want all that.
Okay, who am I kidding. I totally want all that.
Maybe that’s why I got the word prosper. To call me out. To really shake the façade of someone who prides herself on avoiding manicures and facials, talks her husband out of jewelry for their anniversary, and eats “in” while judging everyone’s fancy “dining out” photos posted on FB. “Oh, man that glazed salmon, baby asparagus and garlic mashed had to be over a 30 dollar entrée….” (insert the slurp of angel hair pasta coated with Classico sauce and the splurge of TJs grated parmesan.)
But inside there is this rich girl who really likes fancy stuff. And she’s covered up by this girl who is totally embarrassed for her. A girl who reminds her constantly of how freakin’ rich she is when compared to 99% of the world. A girl who says, “Listen up, chickadee, when was the last time you went hungry, didn’t have a pair of Brooks tennis shoes to run in, or watched your child’s face fall when you said, ‘Let’s skip club volleyball this year since it costs more than the gross national product of some developing nations.’’
Because I have prospered ridiculously. And I know the plans he has for me. Plans to prosper and not to harm. Plans for a future full of hope. Which is curiously what prosper actually means– “Pro” means “before” (or maybe “to be for” as in “pro-life” or “pro taco-truck”) and the Latin word “spes” means “hope.”
To prosper is to “be for hope.”
And that’s true for me. I’m all for hope. I define myself as a hope holder. When others believe something is impossible…like finding love, or having a child, or believing that they are worthy and enough. Well, I hold that impossible hope for them until they are ready to hold it themselves. And in that I prosper until the day comes when they are ready to cash in on their account and I open my arms and release the hope back into their hearts. In those moments, I am the richest woman in the world.
So, I guess I’m going to wrestle with the word prosper this year.
I might even let my husband take me out to dinner a couple times.
And I’ll let the wannabe rich girl wrestle with the wannabe a hippie girl. And we’ll talk about the ways we want a house with a music room and an exercise room (and a Batcave), and we’ll talk about how much we love our tiny little home with the avocado tree. And I’ll try to appreciate all that I get this year, and I’ll try to give even more. And most of all, I’ll be for hope. I will trust in the plans my God has for me. Whether those plans come with physical prosperity or emotional prosperity or I prosper in a heaping helping of heartache and devastation–I will choose hope. I will choose gratitude. I will choose joy.
Because of my years of “abiding” and being “well” I have taken baby steps towards learning to be content in whatever situation I find myself in…so in my year of “prospering” I will learn to be content in plenty as well as in want.
Because in my heart there is great prosperity. A strong sense of being deeply known and deeply cared for. I might not like to say the word out loud because it feels embarrassing. But the truth is, in all things I have prospered. And I am deeply blessed.
So, I raise the white flag of surrender (and a glass of bubbly champagne), and ring in a new year with a new word.
Próspero año y felicidad!
********************************* Curious about Megan’s word. Click here!
I love your word and that you are wrestling with it. Do you remember that I hated my word last year? And, yet, God did so much even with my kicking and screaming. Looking forward to your year of prosper. xx
I love your honesty. I’m struggling with my word too. I had chosen “cherish.” It’s lovely and I can do that. Fearless is a creature entirely outside who I am. BUT I love your take on prosper — so much hope! And at the end of the year we should all get together with a few bottles of champagne and celebrate how God helped us live out our word, because, well … God obviously … and champagne. 😉
Susan, This is so honest and so hopeful. Just like you! Reading your writing is like sitting down for a cup of coffee with you. Thank you for sharing!