I stumbled upon an offer from Melanie at Only a Breath to create a little button with your word of the year. Your One Word. The word that will be your focal point for the coming year. It was a no-brainer for me because this word is something I’ve been gearing up for – it’s the theme that is playing stronger than ever in my life right now.
And from there the three-word phrase, and my focus for the coming year was crystal clear – Embrace the Journey. I’ve written about the journey of self-sufficiency before, remember? This post made it into the Untrained Housewife Manifesto – 7 Principles of Intentional and Self-Sufficient Living because in order to live with intention we have to embrace the journey. (Click to Tweet)
And today I got my first true hate mail. Not a troll, not a negative comment or spam. Hate. Personal, attacking, poisoned-darts of accusatory hate. You know it’s going to be bad when the email starts, “I don’t want to sound like a ____ or hurt your feelings, but….”
The jist of the anonymous email was berating me because I founded a website where I only write 1/2 the posts – allowing contributors to join in and post alongside. Because I wrote a book about homesteading while I live within city limits. Because I encourage greater self-sufficiency without being totally off-grid. It ended with a slap about how the writer would have wished that my publishers would choose someone who’s actually living the life described instead of a fraud. Ouch!
The criticisms plucked at my am-I-worthy heart string and the vibration was a shock wave through me. I power-cleaned. I prayed. I soul-searched. Then God told me to go to the beginning of my book, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less). The introduction of the book reads:
“Once we married and had children we began to seek a lifestyle that was more and more independent and in balance with God’s design. Each year we’ve taken bigger steps down the path of self-sufficiency. Beginning with a small home just inside city limits, with less than a half-acre plot, we’ve found ways to increase the amount of food we produce for ourselves each year. We started with a simple garden and each year have added more elements to our backyard farm.
Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) is a direct result of that journey and my desire to share what can be accomplished, no matter where you live. Backyard farming is about creating a healthier family, a healthier food system, and a healthier Earth for yourself and those who come after you. It’s about recapturing the balance of years gone by, married with the knowledge and breakthroughs of modern ages. Everyone’s journey into backyard farming is unique, and that’s the beauty of it.”
I wrote the book in imperfection so that you wouldn’t wait until you were 100% before starting your journey. If your arrival point is clear already, the journey is pointless – but that’s not how real life works. The journey has, to quote my mother, “both great views, magnificent vistas, as well as grueling climbs and testy trails” but the journey is worth the while. So worthwhile.
I went back to the beginning of this website, too. The About page is one of the first things I ever wrote on this website:
“As I recently told a friend, I’m not calling these ‘areas of weakness.’ I’m calling these areas of huge growth potential! Doesn’t that sound like fun? I love growing and learning new things almost as much as I hate doing dishes…
So – let’s you and I go on an adventure together as we strive to embrace our calling as wives and mothers – queens of our homes. Together we will be learning and growing in huge ways!”
The mindset that says only the perfect people can speak, or only those who have it all together have the right to success is precisely what I’m fighting against.
I don’t want people to wait until they are in the perfect situation. I don’t want people to think they have to know the answer to every question before jumping into the fray. That doesn’t make me a fraud – it makes me human.
It’s like having a baby or getting married. Did you know anything about being a mother before your child was born? Of course not. Were you a perfect wife or husband before taking vows? Neither was I. But that didn’t stop us from taking on the adventure – from embracing the journey.
The hater is right in the analysis but not the conclusion. I do not know all the answers and I am not perfect. It’s true. I have not arrived. Also true. And that, dear friend, is precisely the point.
Action takes place in imperfection only when we embrace the journey. (Click to Tweet)
So those are my words for the year – for a lifetime. And my invitation for you.
Embrace the Journey.
What will your journey look like this year?(If you want to join along with me with pride check out the sticker and cool notebook I put together using this new Embrace the Journey design)