Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Courtesy photo)

Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Courtesy photo)

Living and growing: A word for your year

I recently read an article by Emily Linder who wrote an article entitled “New Year, New Word” for LDS Living magazine. In her article she suggests choosing a word to focus on for the year. I really like her idea of focusing on a word instead of a list of resolutions. Although this is the beginning of March and we are two months past 2024 New Year’s celebrations, it seems now may be a perfect time to review the goals we may have made for the year of 2024.

If you are like me, I hadn’t gotten past thinking about my goals for 2024. I was still mulling goals around in my head and had not yet put my goals in writing. And you know what they say, “a goal not written is only a wish.” Emily’s article inspired me to think of a word to concentrate on and for this year at least I have abolished the idea of writing down a list of resolutions or goals, and have instead for the past few weeks concentrated on what my word for the year will be.

I have chosen my word. Respite: a period of temporary delay or an interval of rest or relief. At first the word respite seemed like a cop-out of sorts. Who chooses a word that promotes delaying something we should be doing? It took a while to settle on a word, but as I have tried to ingrain the word respite into my everyday life, I have found my mind stretching to see how I can incorporate respite into making myself a better person. How can I experience and feel respite in life and help serve others and improve myself and honor God? Respite from trying to do too much, but rather concentrating on what I can do well. Respite to recharge, so I can have a better attitude around others and not be short-tempered. Respite to feel God’s spirit and meditate on His love for all. Respite to notice the beautiful world we live in. Serving others so that they can have a few moments of respite.

At church the other day, the choir was singing a beautiful medley. The word respite whispered in my mind as I listened to the music and felt a feeling of peace. It was just a few moments in that morning. A lot of moments make up a day and even more moments make up a week. For those few moments of respite at church, as peace permeated my soul, I knew God saw me.

Dietrich Uchtdorf a leader in our church wrote this: “There is something incredibly hopeful about a fresh start…Our personal goals can bring out the best in us. However, one of the things that derail our efforts in making and keeping resolutions is procrastination. We sometimes delay starting, waiting for the right moment to begin — the first day of a new year, the beginning of summer…after the kids get into school, after we retire…You don’t need to wait for permission to become the person you were designed to be…With every new day, a new dawn comes — not only for the earth but also for us. And with a new day comes a new start — a chance to begin again…Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before…An old proverb says, ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.’ There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now. There is something empowering about the fact that if we choose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment. Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be.”

Will you choose a word for the year? Embrace, kindness, love, courage, challenge, accomplish, commit, learn, persevere, simplify, manage, adventure, act, balance, celebrate, teach, value, lift, redeem, reflect, smile, prioritize, persist, patience…there is a word for you.

May the rest of 2024 be a wonderful year. May you find peace in your soul and a word to guide you to become who you were designed to be.

• Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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