“So, everything in your life is you holding a fist to people instead of an open hand. You’re holding tightly to everything in your life because you need the control rather than allowing yourself to be open to other people and let them have a deep impact on your life.”

The words my counselor (T) said to me at the beginning of November.

The words that have haunted me since he first spoke them that Tuesday morning.

When he said those words with that picture image I got it. I realized that I have been gripping my hands together so tightly that I have forced people away from me. I have forced myself into a tightly squeezed fist and molded myself into a closed-off person. A woman so hell-bent on achieving control in her life that she literally doesn’t know how to open her hand anymore and receive.

So when T pointed this out to me I knew that I was missing out on a world of growth because I don’t let people in to my life. We began working through this and I grew quite a bit. I realized that I have been silencing myself and that I am done with that. I have also learned that I need people in my life. I got a taste of that when I was in England this summer but I have ignored what I learned overseas. But I’m through with that now.

My word this year is open because I have been living most of my life closed off from everyone and everything. I have been shielding myself from everything—good or bad—and I’m realizing that is not a good way to live.

So regardless of how terrified I am about where focusing on being open this year will take me, I will do it because I know it is for my good.

So for starters here are a few things I haven’t been open with lately:

-To say that I am struggling to believe God is good and who he says he is does not cover it. There are days that I feel like I am drowning because I just don’t know that he is there. And then there are other days when people in my life remind me of who he is and I try and believe but I’m not sure if I ever get there. It’s been a rough year and I haven’t told very many people about it and the entire time I haven’t felt God’s presence or heard his direction except for a handful of moments—moments that were necessary and good but so far in between that it’s hard to believe that he really does care about me.

-I pour myself into work, school, crafting, ANYTHING so that I don’t have to deal with emotions. Literally. I don’t want to deal with any emotions that I experience so I throw myself into other things so that I distract myself and eventually I stop knowing how to feel. Which is never a good thing. I also avoid other people when I am doing this because like it or not people have emotions and I don’t like emotions so I avoid people. (Again, I close everyone out in order to exact control over my life…)

-I have zero desire to go to a physical church ever again. Being a female I was told blatantly by numerous people that my role was to be with the children in the nursery and that since I volunteered in the youth group I could never speak in front of the students unless it was a gender specific event. I felt worthless and belittled and I have a bitter taste in my mouth to associate with people who truly believe that about women in the church. Also, I know that I have things to say and that while I don’t want to be a preacher at a church I wouldn’t mind speaking to people (even though the thought of that terrifies me). However, any time I opened up my mouth to express my thoughts or to challenge an idea I felt judgment. And yes, I know that not all churches are the same but when you have been wounded deeper than deep, in a way that you never should have, you wouldn’t want to step foot in a church again either.

There’s more, but if we’re being honest (which I am) opening up about those three things exhausted me. I know this year is going to be one of growth and a lot of a lot of healing. So, here’s to focusing on one word this year. Here’s to learning how to open myself and surrender rather than close myself and control. Here’s to experiencing change. I don’t know what this year will bring but I do know that discovering how to open myself will be painful, difficult, and a challenge. But I also know that it will be worth it. How I know that I’m not exactly sure, but I do. And in the little bit of faith that I have I am standing on the surety that God will use this for His glory and for me to discover who He is because if I’m going to learn to be open then I’m going to encounter things. And encountering our Creator will most likely be on the top of the list. Just a guess (or maybe it’s a hope).


So what about you? Are you living by the OneWord365 challenge?


5 thoughts on “OneWord365

  1. Hi! I found you on the One Word 365 site- we are in the same tribe:) My word is open, too. I know what you mean about attending church- I love our church now but in the past I have attended a church that seriously affected the way I feel about God and what a christian “should” be. Church is a funny thing- if you aren’t careful church can become an idol. I accepted a job teaching preschool at our church and I find the more I am there the more I feel I have to do. Church is becoming life and it is time to refocus. This year I am going to open my schedule. I’m going to open the door and go outside. Open THE book and read His words. I am going to open my heart and my ears and wait and listen for Him.

    • I’m so glad you found me and took the time to read and comment. I am excited that you are also taking steps this year to open yourself to what the Lord has for you. May it be a year filled with beauty, grace, and growth.

      As we venture through this journey of focusing on becoming more open this year let’s stay in touch with each other. After all, I don’t believe in coincidences! :)

  2. Oh dear heart, I hear this. I, too, am an expert in numbing myself; do anything to avoid the pain. My word last year was “Stay”, which meant to me that I must stay, even when it hurts. And it is oh, so hard. But has been so rewarding. The only way is through – through the pain, to healing.

    Your word reminds me of a Sara Groves song I have a love/hate relationship to. If you haven’t already heard it, I hope it will speak to you.

    May He reveal Himself to your open heart.

    • “Through the pain, to healing” <–yes, that. I know this upcoming process will be hard but I also know that it will be worth it.

      Thank you for sharing. I have never heard that Sara Groves song before, but I have been listening to it on repeat for the past hour. I can understand your love/hate relationship, but the lyrics are what I've been experiencing lately, so thank you for sharing.

  3. Ah I am so excited for what God will do with this word and in your life this year! Sounds like it will be such a good word for you in this season. I am praying that He plants you in a community of people who will love and appreciate you for who you are and who He made you to be!


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