Beyond My View

For my original OneWord post, click here.

It was with a bit of trepidation that I choose “beyond” as my word for 2011. After all, I knew that it would test my self-imposed limitations and challenge my willingness to accept the status quo. It didn’t take long for that to prove true. A week after I posted my OneWord, I went on a retreat with my church’s college group. Some may think that this was a challenge in and of itself, but as I have a special place in my heart for these students, this was a joy, not a stretch for me. It was what happened on the trip that prompted me to act concert with my OneWord.

First a little background – somewhere in my childhood I developed a fear of falling. My sister tells me that child researches think this is the one inherent fear in infants. For me, however, I think it became a limiting principle for me when I fell out of tree at my grandma’s house sometime before age 5. I don’t remember much about the experience but I remember the feeling of invincibility as I started climbing, and the fear I had when I ended up on the ground. I think I my have gotten over this except the years would prove that climbing wasn’t my forte and there would be a number of other, smaller falls awaiting me in the future. And so somewhere along the way, I decided that I would do what I could to keep my feet firmly planted on solid ground.

And then I went to the retreat….where there was a zip line….on a mountain…after choosing beyond as my word.

As I debated whether or not I would go, the word reverberated in my ears.

How could I claim to own “beyond” in 2011 if a perfectly safe zip line would stifle me on the eighth day of the year?

And so I went. I climbed the hill and dealt with loving friends who tried to intensify my fears. I braved the huge rope net that I had to go up in order to get to the zip line (truth be told, the net scared me perhaps more than the actual zip line.) I sat on the platform and waited for the countdown. And then I went.

Soaring through the air, I was mesmerized by my surroundings.

The mountains were breathtaking.

The air was invigorating.

The landscape a testament to the artistry of our Creator.

And I kept thinking – I would have never had this perspective if I didn’t give the zip line a chance.

My view would have been limited to what I had always known.

I would have never seen beyond my accepted perspective.

And the fear I felt was worth it. And knowing that even in a small way I had lived in keeping with my OneWord encouraged me to keep doing so for the rest of the year.

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My Twitter friend, Alece Ronzino, (who I one day hope will be my real-life friend) has started a cool idea of absconding with New Year’s Resolutions in favor of choosing One Word that will focus how you intentionally live throughout the year. The idea has caught on like wild fire and a whole community of One-Worders has started. As someone who has never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, I liked the idea, and I started thinking through what my One Word would be.

It didn’t take hardly any time at all for me to know in concept what I wanted to focus on. You see, I’ve always been a person who is pretty comfortable with staying within my boundaries. I tell people I’m compliant – and it’s true – I love knowing where the lines are so I can color expertly within them. And while I think that’s a good thing, I also know that I often hide behind these tendency as an excuse not to that which scares me. I stick to the things that I know I will be successful at because I don’t want to experience the pain of failure. I stay where I’m comfortable so I won’t be vulnerable. I remain content with good at the expense for great.

And then it hit me, I don’t want to live life confined by my fears, my insecurities or my habits. I want to live beyond those trivialities in full view of the greatness of God.

Beyond my comfort zone.

Beyond what’s convenient.

Beyond what’s known.

Beyond my expectations.

Because ulimately what lies beyond is the eternal rewards of Heaven.

So that’s my word for this year. Beyond. I hope to share the journey with you as I strive to live life beyond in 2011.

In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Reepicheep says “There is no honor in turning away from adventure.” Later he states “Extraordinary things only happen to extrordinary people.”

Here’s to an extraordinary 2011 – living a life beyond.

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