I’m coming off a Hallmark Christmas movie bender. You guys, I’m pretty sure that between Halloween and New Year’s Day I watched FORTY NEW HOLIDAY MOVIES.

I’m not even sorry. (It was for WORK. Kind of. OK it was for Facebook live videos with my friend. WHATEVER. ’twas the season.)

Now that there are no longer new holiday movies on every evening, I can re-connect with my Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVR queues. Unsurprisingly, I’m craving shows that are distinctly un-saccharine, have a diverse cast (diverse in any possible way. Hallmark movies are decidedly white/straight/clean/coiffed/rich.), and good writing that is also funny. Jane the Virgin fits the bill entirely, so last night I watched a few episodes (I’m in the middle of season three.) Does anyone else love this show too?? Also: MICHAEL!!! Oh my word. Email me if you’re a Jane fan too so we can process together.)

In one scene that I watched last night, Jane enters a clothing store. A teenaged clerk looks her up and down with disdain, then tells Jane (with the same contempt) that her outfit is ‘so basic.’ It’s a t-shirt and jeans (pretty much what I wear daily too). You know. Basic.

While the clerk meant it as a burn, I’m hoping that as I pass through 2018, I look at myself in the mirror and say with sass, “You’re so basic.”

Because that’s my word for the year. BASIC.

Frankly, as of late the basics have eluded me, and I miss them. I miss who I am when my basics are met and up-to-date and happening at all. My heart and head are craving basics – basic principals, basic foods, even basic activities. When I say ‘basics’, I mean:

  • brushing my teeth every day
  • drinking enough water
  • eating more vegetables
  • going to bed at a normal (for most non-night-owl people) hour
  • getting my paid work done during business hours
  • reading the Gospel
  • talking (actually speaking) with my friends
  • being present with my kids
  • planning meals and shopping responsibly for them
  • creating and maintaining a budget
  • reading books
  • loving people and inviting them in (physically and metaphorically)
  • writing (not adding a graphic or tweetables or anything fancy. Just. Writing. Anything.)

Basics. Which sound suspiciously like actual self-care. Probably because most of these things are. Our life hasn’t been very conducive to the basics over the last couple of years, and I’ve struggled with a lack of self-discipline since forever. Combine that with a little bit of Scandinavian modesty + mothering littles + general worth issues… Stir it all up together, and you’ve got a recipe for terrible self-care and an extreme lack of basic.

Self-care, which goes way beyond a latte or a pedicure. Recently this video and an email from Sarah Bessey have wedged themselves deep into my heart and given words to what I’ve long-considered ‘self-care’ to actually be. The way we throw that phrase around isn’t accurate, practical or sustainable. Taking care of ones self is akin to mothering your own being. It’s having soup and a salad at home for lunch instead of grabbing from the drive-thru. It’s choosing to stay up and do a load of underwear so your bum is cleanly covered tomorrow. It’s filling up a water bottle before leaving the house. It’s brushing teeth even on a not-leaving-the-house day. It’s going to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s reading a few verses from the Gospels (instead of trying to tackle the whole Bible). It’s returning to the building blocks of faith – the same foundational pieces that led me to fall in love with Him in the first place.

Mothering yourself. Caring for yourself. Taking care of yourself. THIS is the definition of self-care, and no coffee run or solo Target trip will suffice.

2017 was a year that woke us up in many ways. 2017 felt like a tumultuous year, and a complicated year, and at times a difficult and scary year. 2017 held careful and complex conversations in my home, at work, in our church, and my heart is craving the complex simplicity of following the commands to love one another, to love our neighbor, to walk humbly with the Lord, and to make space for each other.

In 2018, I will be wrestling with the word BASIC. I’m sure it will come up in big and small ways, in everyday interactions and in big decisions. I’m praying it will, because I believe God dropped that word into my lap as He’s done for the past several years (2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013).

“You’re so basic.” Man, I hope so.

If you’ve chosen a word, or if a word has chosen you, what is it? I’d love to hear!

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