In a recent post, I shared my progress on my goals in 2022 which were to be rooted in relationships, legacy, faith, and rhythms. When I initially chose the word “Rooted” as my word for 2022, it was nudged by a few things.
First was the scripture from Ephesians 3:17-19 which says “that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. I had heard this verse in a sermon, had it come up in a devotional, and in a study I was doing all within a few days of each other last year. Some may think it just a coincidence, but when a pattern like that comes up, I take notice.
Second was this call for a slower pace I felt in my heart. Teddy and I had traveled so much in 2021, and I was feeling this desire to be more grounded in my home and a slowing down of sorts. We still wanted to travel but do it a bit differently, though we weren’t sure how at the time.
Third, I had felt a nudging to spend more time in God’s Word. I had read the bible cover to cover before, but wanted to read it on a deeper level.
These three things coupled with prayer and for God to make my word for 2022 clear, resulted in the word rooted for 2022. What I didn’t anticipate at the beginning of 2022 was just exactly what a year of being rooted would look like.
In January we got a puppy. We had talked about adding a puppy to the family for a few months. We already had Bailey who was about 6 at the time and when ready, we wanted to get another dog from the same breeder. In early January, the breeder had shared they were moving out of state and had a last litter of puppies. We saw the pictures and decided to go see the two yellow labs that had not yet been homed. We fell in love with our chunky monkey right there and then. In late January, we brought home Remington. Over the last year, we’ve adjusted plans and routines as we’ve figured out life with a very energetic and often anxious puppy. He’s kept us rooted to our home as we’ve traveled less because we didn’t want to leave him or board him when it wasn’t necessary.
In August we went on the roadtrip of a lifetime through the Northwest United States. While on the trip, Teddy proposed by a lake in the Tetons. It was perfect. Getting engaged and then married in 2023 roots us further to each other and to God. As we believe the purpose of our marriage is to glorify God better together than we ever could separately.
In September we bought an RV. We had talked about it on and off over a year, but it was even more solidified after we went on that Northwest road trip. While we loved to travel and stay in hotels and eat out, we missed our dogs immensely on both road trips we took this year and wanted to be able to have experiences with them rather than without them. We spent hundreds of hours (I wish I was kidding) researching and learning about RVs. I’d never had one before in my life. The closest I’d been to an RV was staying in a pop up camper in elementary school with a friend’s family, and the “Velma” Airstream I stayed in during a trip in Colorado. This was an entirely new experience for the two of us.
In October we went on our first 4 camping trips in the RV. The first one was just Teddy and I, but the following trips we brought Bailey along. Remington wasn’t yet ready to camp with us but will be in 2023. We camped each time within Pennsylvania, and got to have Teddy’s parents stay with us on one trip, and got to camp with others in his family in the same campground on another trip. This is something we didn’t have when we were road tripping, so was a nice change of pace and was that slower way of travel we were interested in.
When purchasing an RV, a lot of full time RVers recommend not driving more than 3 hours or 300 miles per day. So this purchase again roots us even more to traveling within a few hours of our home base. And give us an opportunity to have the puppies and friends and family join us.
Getting a puppy, getting engaged, and purchasing an RV have been the biggest life changes this year that for me support that this year was one of being rooted and pursuing a slower life. But in addition, I also dug into some resources and learning on what being rooted in Christ looks like.
- “Rooted in Grace” course from Daily Grace Co was one I purchased at the end of 2021. It is a 32 lesson course covering “10 Habits to Grow and Thrive in Your Relationship With God”. I worked through this throughout the year and was able to learn a lot throughout it.
- 6 Week Rooted Study – This was also from Daily Grace Co. I did this one in the Fall of 2022 and enjoyed it immensely. I really appreciate their studies, and this was another great one.
- Bible in 90 Days – This is the book I used to read the bible in a year before. It took me about 6-8 months the first time I did it. This time, it took me about 4 months to get through. I didn’t read it by itself though, I paired it witht he below resource.
- Bible Recap – I started the year by listening to the podcast from Tara-Leigh Cobble that helped give me more understanding and perspective on what I was reading in the bible. She gives context to the few chapters that were read in the chronological bible study and really emphasizes how this points to God’s character. After a few weeks of listening to the podcast, I ended up purchasing this book. I liked being able to write notes and highlight in it.
- Bible Reading Notebook – One other thing I did this year that was different from the past was I made a notebook for notes and learning while I read the bible and listened to/read the bible recap. I just bought a plain Cambridge notebook and set up the pages. I titled each at the top by the what day of the reading plan I was on and then put spots for what chapters and verses were to be read, my learning or notes, a spot for questions, and then my “God Shot” which is what Tara-Leigh focuses on in the Bible recap – where you saw God and what you learned about his character.
- 2022 Goal Setting – I designed my goals to center around my word of the year. I wanted to be rooted in relationships, my faith, legacy, and rhythms. This helped focus on what mattered most to me this year.
- Rooted by Banning Liebscher – I read this in 2016 as well as in 2020. I’m going to share some of my favorite parts of this book below with you.
In the book Rooted, Banning Liebscher talks about the concept that before you get the fruit or the results of your work, you need to dig deep roots first. He shares, “In the growth cycle of fruit bearing plants, fruit comes at the very end. The cycle starts with a seed being planted in the ground. When watered, the seed will break open and being to put down roots. That root system will continue to grow as the seed forms a shoot and eventually breaks through the surface of the soil into air and sunlight. Both the plant and its root system will keep going until the plan is strong and mature enough to bear fruit. Significantly, in order for a plan to survive, much less bear fruit, its root system has to take up more space underground than the plant takes up above ground. When you look up at one of those immense redwoods in the Avenue of the Giants, for example, you’re actually standing on root systems that are wider than those trees are tall. This is the principle of foundations. A foundation always has to be bigger than the thing it is supporting.”
When we put the seeds of God’s Word in us, and water them, and remain patient, those roots start to grow. Little by little. they continue growing, and over time become a foundational root system. And that root system eventually helps us produce fruit. But the fruit doesn’t come before the roots.
This was what my year of being rooted looked like. It was a lot of learning, patience, being open to changes in life, and doing things differently. And it was getting to know God more intimately.
I hope this reflection was helpful for you as you prepare for the upcoming year. If you’ve chosen a word or phrase or verse for your upcoming year, think about what ways you can align your goals to support it. Think about any resources like a book or podcast or course or some other way you can expand your learning and growth in that area. The more intentional you are in the plans for your upcoming year, the better the results tend to be.