Maybe you’ve seen the trend. The one where someone chooses a word to focus on, a word to set their intentions on for the upcoming clean slate of a new year. I’ve done it in past years but come February the word slips my mind and I lose the intentions I set. Last year my words were generous love. It sounds romantic and sweet, but really, I never thought through it enough to make it last.
This year I didn’t think I would choose a word, seeing that my past attempts were fruitless. But then I was encouraged by a mentor to really think about a word I can set for the year. A word or thought to serve as a theme for the year. In a small coffee shop she walked our little group of moms through a process of reflection and dreaming. How do we want to grow in 2019? Where does God want to grow us? What goals do we want to see happen? Where are we going to invest spiritually, relationally, physically, intellectually, and financially? Our tired little mama hearts caught fire as she encouraged us to think back on what was in 2018 and dream big about what would be in 2019.
Choosing a Word
As I thought and prayed about it, one word kept popping into my mind. I saw it each day in a Christmas devotional I bought on a whim this year. I heard it in the theme song to my daughter’s new favorite Netflix show. And my kids repeatedly requested it of me as I cleaned the kitchen again or folded laundry again: “Mom, can you come play?”
Play. That was it. I need to play. I actually want to play. But I don’t really know how to play. What does that look like? Between the health issues I faced for the past couple of years and the mounting responsibilities that come with parenting, I had lost any and all play in my life. And I wanted to get it back.
At first, I questioned the word I chose – is it too trivial, simple, childish? But as I dove deeper I realized that play can be an essential part of our spiritual lives. It’s important not to take ourselves too seriously, something I tend to do, and it’s important to celebrate and enjoy even in the midst of struggle and pain. I tend to focus on the latter and see play as something that is only beneficial for kids. But this year I feel something else calling. There are things outside of my control, but there are a few things I can control. I can choose joy. I can choose trust. I can choose gratitude. And I can choose to celebrate, enjoy, and play.
Play as a Goal
As I set my goals for this year, I set them simply and with open hands. I want to incorporate play into how I parent, into how I take care of myself, into the plans I make with friends. As I look forward to this year, here are a few ways I intend on playing:
- Say yes when my son asks me to play soccer
- Invite one kid along on some of my walks
- Ask my daughter to cook with me, and let her choose the recipe
- Take a hip hop class
- Travel to Hawaii with my husband (this has been planned, but it fits perfectly with my goals this year!)
- Watch for small moments to play each day
That’s all I’ve got so far! This is an area of growth for me and growing isn’t always easy. But I’m excited to explore where these goals will lead. So tell me, what are ways that you play as a mom? I’d love to hear them in the comments and if anyone wants to play I am happy to tag along!