A word for 2022

As a writer, there is a temptation to speak into the year as it happens and fill the air with positivity as we start another trip around the sun. But as I tried to conjure a sentiment to share, my tongue was tied and my spirit was commanded to wait and watch.

We’re now almost a full week into 2022, and if I had to describe what I’ve observed, I would say I see many bracing for impact, fearfully expecting something awful to happen. The fullest picture I’ve seen of this was a friend sharing, “New Year, Same Shit!” which began his first social media post for the year.

Most of the people who know me know that as a teenager, I read tarot cards. Every time I would read for myself, the 3 of Swords and reversed Ace of Cups came up. Together, they meant I was one marked with heartbreak, sorrow, and despair and there was no love for me. I didn’t read cards for very long and that summer I started following Jesus and renounced all forms of witchcraft and every other demonic thing I engaged in, but for years afterward I doodled that heart with 3 swords into every notebook I owned. It was a symbol that so embodied what I believed about myself that in my 20’s I had fully intended on getting it as a tattoo on the back of my neck, saying it would be like a shirt tag, identifying what I was made of. (I didn’t because my pastor told me he didn’t think it was a good idea.)

Fast forward 15 years, I’m 31 years old sitting in a therapist’s office with tears streaming down my face explaining I want to kill myself because I am not capable of being happy and my husband and 1 year old son deserve to have someone who can be, and happiness is not meant for me. “Where does this idea come from?” she asked. 

Immediately, all my drawings of a mosaic heart with 3 ornate swords plowed through it came to mind. Even though I had stopped the action of reading cards half my life ago, I never rejected the message they gave me. Instead, I reinforced Despair in my own tone of voice over and over until it sounded just like me. 

When we think about the word “Repent,” most of us picture an old man holding a Bible, yelling about hellfire, mandating we change our actions. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a call to examine how our reinforced beliefs brought us to our actions in the first place and then consider the fortified mindsets we developed in spaces of fear, grief, anger, etc. and then decide to think differently. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” If I had to paraphrase, I would say, “Hey! Your understanding of life isn’t helping you. It isn’t getting you what you want.  Look! The very Kingdom of Heaven is within your grasp! You can take hold of this instead!”  I started reading cards because I wanted to be liked and the cards told me no one likes me and I would always carry this heartbroken burden. To get out from under the Despair planted in my spirit, it wasn’t enough to stop reading cards. I also had to stop believing them.

If you’re walking into this year believing things don’t change and will always be this way, or actively preparing for the worst case scenarios, I want to offer you an alternative narrative. What if things could be different? What if minor adjustments to your routine could change the entire trajectory of your life? What if instead of preparing for and hedging against death and destruction you actively began to cultivate life in your sphere of influence? What if you began to disagree with Despair and Dread and allowed the idea that maybe this story of life could be really good and something you want to see through?  What if this change of mindset changed everything else?

What you believe about life isn’t helping you. It isn’t getting you what you want. But there is another narrative available, putting the very Kingdom of Heaven within your grasp. Today is the day to take hold of it.

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