R has always felt to me like a late letter in the alphabet; a sign that the end is in sight. There's a good reason for this, I suppose: it's the 18th letter out of 26, so if I'm on R out of A-Z, I'm almost there! It's only taken me three years...
Funnily enough, this latest impetus to limp over the finish line was prompted by someone at the Association of Christian Writers who posted that they had just signed up for the 2024 A-Z Challenge! I have given myself the task of finishing off the 2021 A-Z Challenge before the new one begins. Whether I embark on another one (officially, or unofficially) will depend on levels of enthusiasm and inspiration.
So, R for Ready. This is my Word for 2024.
At the beginning of each year I choose a word to help me navigate the year ahead. Being me, I consider and cogitate and research and over-think it for quite a while before I commit myself, and this year was no different on that score. Last year's word was 'Free' and I found it to be quite a powerful one. More on that another time, perhaps (the annoying little voice in my head has suggested that I save this for next time I need something beginning with 'F'). Forget that for now, though. This is supposed to be short, and we're talking about the letter R.
R for Ready.
I decided that this year my word should be something less introspective and more dynamic than in previous years. I want this to be a year where I reclaim some ground, DO some things, be more active on every level than the past few, which have largely been characterised by having been knocked flat on my backside and having lain there immobile as life steamrolled over me.
But no more, I thought. I am back.
So, what kind of word encapsulated this? The sense of determination, forward motion, promise? The feeling that I am wanting to turn a corner, begin something new? I deliberated over 'Courage' and 'Forward', 'Strong' and 'Purpose', before diving into the thesaurus and deciding that 'Ready' seemed to be a part of all of them. To face something with courage requires readiness. To move forward involves being ready to step out. Being strong implies preparedness and firmness of spirit. If you have purpose, you have direction and confidence. The words seemed to support each other and at the same time, pointed me to the one word.
So, Ready I am. I am Ready.
Ready for what? That's up to God, isn't it?
As in other years, I've fought the vague creeping fear that I might in some way 'tempt fate' by choosing a bold word that might come back to bite me. The God I know doesn't work like that, even if I am unnerved by a couple of challenging things that waited barely until the dust had settled on the New Year parties before rearing their heads.
Maybe this year will require me to be ready to face trouble, but maybe it'll turn out to mean ready for other things too. I'm hoping it will be a year of progress, of pushing back the darkness, of discovering new things or rediscovering old ones. Of finding some confidence, some purpose, some joy. Maybe finding myself again.
We shall see. But I am daring to say that I'm ready.