Giving, learning, and letting go into the new year

by Kristin on January 4, 2012

in Culture, ideas & paradigms

Photo by Alejandra Mavroski

A week ago I posed 10 questions for you to ponder at the start of a new year, and I’ve been loving your responses. It isn’t fair, however, to ask questions I’m not up for answering myself, so I’ll take a stab at sharing my thoughts and reflections.

1. What experiences most shaped you in 2011?
Last March, my husband was laid off and spent seven months unemployed. It was a frustrating yet strangely freeing and relaxed period of time.

2. What is something you learned (or learned to do) this past year?
I learned, all over again, to let go and trust God. Well, I learned a bit more about letting go and trusting God, and through that learning I experienced that unbelievable feeling the apostle Paul referred to as the “peace that passes understanding.”

3. What is something you want to learn to do in the upcoming year?
Tango dancing!

4. Is there a hurt, frustration or fear that you’d like to heal/let go of in 2012?
Yes. :) (I’m all for vulnerability, but not in all things in all cases.)

5. What inspired or encouraged you in 2011?
People! Online, my blogging and Twitter friends—and all of you who comment on my blog—inspire and encourage me every day. Off-line, my husband Jason and I started a “Bible & Beer” group a few months ago, and it both inspired and encouraged me. The inspiration came from hearing the thoughts, ideas and honest questioning of others, and it was just plain encouraging to be a part of a group of people from different faith backgrounds and experiences having lively, intelligent discussion and debate around often-controversial topics. (Too often, when I think about the broader discussions in and around the Christian faith, I’m just DIScouraged.)

6. What gift could you use to inspire and encourage others in 2012?
I’d like to continue to inspire and encourage others through what I think are my main gifts: writing/communication and hospitality. I’m hoping, though, that I will find some new opportunities within those “old” gifts.

7. What do you want to experience more of in your life this next year?
I want to experience more freedom this year. Freedom from worry and fear. Freedom from unrealistic expectations and guilt. Freedom from frustration and impatience.

8. What do you want to give/share more of?
Grace. (Related: understanding, the benefit of the doubt, forgiveness, acceptance.)

9. Is there a word that sums up 2011 for you?

10. Is there a word you want to carry with you through 2012?

Thanks for sharing and listening along with me! Feel free to continue to share your responses to any or all of the above questions.

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  • sarah louise

    Beautiful, darling, beautiful. Intrigued by this Bibles and Beer: so it is not necessarily a group of folks from church?

    Keep writing! You always inspire me.


  • Ray Hollenbach

    I love question number 6: both the question and your answer. I wish I was the kind of person who naturally makes the connection between gifted-ness and helping others. You question (and answer) are great examples for me.

  • Kirstin

    Interesting, Ray! I love Kristin’s answer to 6 (she’s doing it RIGHT NOW!!!), but when I was answering these questions for myself in my journal I wrote, “don’t like this one!” I’m not sure why–I’m a teacher, so inspiring others is what I get paid to do, and I devote a lot of time to figuring out how to encourage students! But in the more reflective inner context of these questions, I felt like #6 was nudging me towards a kind of moral vanity and laziness that I’ve been trying to get away from.

    Maybe it’s a teacherly move to think too easily that one’s lasting significance will lie in what one can get others to do and to let oneself off the hook in terms of making a difference in one’s own right? I don’t know–but the answer that I wrote down is that if my gifts inspire/encourage others when I’m off the clock during 2012 it should be by example, not by effort.

    Perhaps I’ll grow to a point where by 2013, I’ll be able to say with some accuracy and the necessary spirit of humility, “here’s how my gifts can inspire/encourage others.”

  • Jen

    Great questions, and love your answers! Grace, freedom, trust, and openness are worthy, difficult things to pursue. But the beautiful thing about these goals is they’re a work in progress.

    And tango looks awesome. Go for it. =)

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