Did Your 2016 Problems Go Away?


What problems did you start the year with? Do you still have them? Did any new problems pop up along the way?

I ended 2015 with the problem of undiagnosed abdominal pain. I had been to doctors, gone through scans, had MRIs, and taken medicines, but still no diagnosis.

And no relief.

One Word: Welcome

So at the end of last year, I chose the word “Welcome as my new One Word to focus on in 2016.


post-surgery gift from Jenna and Trey, January 31, 2016

When we can no longer deny our pain, we can’t fix our problems, and we don’t want to constantly complain about them, there’s one thing left to do: Intentionally accept them.

  • That doesn’t mean settle.
  • That doesn’t mean we don’t continue to work for solutions.
  • That doesn’t mean don’t cry out to God for help.

For the past 12 months, I’ve been taking my scaredy-cat self and asking God to help me welcome my problems, physical or otherwise.

Instead of fighting against them, I wanted to intentionally accept what God allowed to happen.

  • Daily (well, most days) I used meditation practices to stay in the now.
  • Weekly, I used the Welcoming Prayer to affirm my intention to God and myself.
  • And monthly (with the outline of Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection), I focused on a different attribute to welcome, and something different to let go of. (See all twelve here.)

Like, welcome self-compassion and let go of perfectionism. Welcome resiliency and let go of powerlessness. Welcome uncertainty and let go of needing to know.

Did it work?

How do you define success? At the end of January, I was finally advised to have my gall bladder removed. I did. It helped.

But ridding ourselves of one problem at a time is never a complete answer. It’s our attitudes about all our problems that have to change.

It’s a spiritual encounter with grace that finally transforms us.

Even when our circumstances don’t change.

My attitudes did make a slight shift this year.

  • Some struggles I’m holding looser.
  • I’m learning it creates less suffering when I surrender to God earlier rather than later.
  • His presence is even more obvious—and valuable—to me than before.

I still have a long way to go (thankfully, with much less abdominal pain).

But having a journey ahead is fine with me (well, most days).

I’m even learning to welcome it.

* * *


Did you choose One Word for 2016? Have you thought of One Word for 2017? Please share in the comments.

25 thoughts on “Did Your 2016 Problems Go Away?

  1. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Lisa,
    How frustrating physical problems can be but I’m so glad surgery corrected some of your problems! I love the word welcome and all it says — welcoming the good and bad that we experience. Thank you for sharing the practices that help you and inviting us to welcome a new year, whatever it may bring!

  2. Trudy

    I love the sign, Lisa. 🙂 I’m so grateful the gall bladder surgery took away that mysterious pain. It’s so hard to welcome some things in our lives, but if I look back over the year, I think there were times when God helped me to accept my chronic illness more. Though I still have those times of discouragement when I can’t do what my heart longs to do. “It’s a spiritual encounter with grace that finally transforms us.” Amen! I hope I will keep learning more self-compassion and resiliency and so many other things…

    This post prompted me to look up what I wrote about this year’s word – open. Though it’s still a process, I think I am slowly learning to open my heart more to the shattered places within me and to allow Jesus’ love to heal me deeper. To open my heart more to His powerful love instead of distrusting His intentions. I really love picking a one word as it helps me to focus on the action with more intention. I’m still praying for God to show me a word for 2017.

    Advent blessings to you! Hugs!

  3. floyd

    Wise perspective, Lisa. I’m always so amazed at the power of our free will. I’m also equally amazed that it isn’t recognized for the awesome gift from God that it is!

    Having a heavenly perspective strengthen and encourages others, it’s a gift. A powerful one. And thanks for sharing it and reminding me to use the gift our Father has given me as well.

  4. Betsy de Cruz

    This post is a breath of fresh air for me. I love your welcome list. I’ve enjoyed the posts I read on this during the last year, Lisa. So refreshing and healing. My word for the year was “wonder” but it kind of got lost…

    For 2017, I’m thinking of the word “Jesus.”

  5. Jean Wise

    What a powerful way that word weaved its way into your heart and attitude. My word this year is JOY and I do want to do some reflection on how being more mindful about JOY has transformed me. Just today I talked with someone about something I wanted to change going into 2017 and as we finished I decided not to “do more or different” but to change my mindset about what was actually happening. I needed to adjust my attitude first and guess what I immediately felt lighter and know it is the right first step. Stinkin’ thinkin’ out the door!

  6. Kristi Woods

    Oh, yes – His grace does indeed change us. It sounds like you’ve had a full year, gall bladder surgery and all. I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better, Lisa. May 2017 be yet another fabulous year, following where His Spirit leads.

  7. KellyRBaker

    Ongoing physical problems are never easy. I’m glad one of the results you listed from the shift in focus is that you sense God’s presence more. I’m feeling the compassion that you still have some pain, and it reminded me that Jesus did this for you:
    Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:4 (ESV)
    Griefs = sickness in Hebrew
    Sorrows = pain in Hebrew
    I am praying for your complete healing, Lisa!

  8. Jennifer Dougan


    I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve had this year, yet I am inspired and challenged by your “welcome” philosophy to it and other problems.

    Thank you for your honesty.

    A word? I haven’t done that yet, and may have to ponder that.

    Nice to talk with you again. I’ve missed this blogging community.

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. June

    I’m glad that most of your pain was relieved through surgery, Lisa. Health was/is a big issue for me this year, too. Acceptance in this area is hard. I don’t want my physical issues to define who I am, you know ? My one word was “new.”and 2016 lived up to its word! I’ll hope to do a recap post soon. No word for 2017 yet! But honestly, I haven’t really prayed about it either. So we will see. I loved that your word was welcome and enjoyed all the ways that played out in your life and inspired others. I look forward to learning your new word for 2017 when you’re ready to share 🙂 Blessings, my friend!

  10. Lori

    Lisa, I love this post. I needed these little reminders tonight- “That doesn’t mean settle. That doesn’t mean we don’t continue to work for solutions. That doesn’t mean don’t cry out to God for help.” We have to stay actively working to remedy our problems. Thank you for your kind words on my blog yesterday. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  11. Lesley

    I’m glad you were able to find a solution to ease your pain, and I loved reading about how the word welcome has impacted your year. 2016 is the first year I’ve had a word. The word is surrender and I’m amazed by how powerful it has been. I have an idea of a word for 2017 but not quite decided yet.

  12. Maria

    Thank you for this message from God for me. Last week, I discovered a hard lump in my breast. I have a doctor’s appointment near the end of this month. I have fibroid cyst(several) in each of my breast. At times, they become hard so that’s what I hope and believe this is. Usually after a week it softens and returns to normal. But today fear got the best of me. I found great encouragement in your post today.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for sharing this, Maria. I’m praying right now that your lump is just another fibroid cyst that won’t be harmful to you, and that peace will replace fear…. May you hear good news soon!

  13. David

    Dear Lisa

    I’m sorry you were ill, and I’m very glad you managed to get the medical help you needed! Hope you are better now.

    I had forgotten but, looking at my first post this year, my word for 2016 was “pivot”. I can’t say I kept the word in mind all year but looking over the year I feel I’ve come a long way and I’ve changed trajectory. Feels good to review the year like that! 🙂


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, David; I am definitely better now. “Pivot” was such a strong word. I’m glad that you’ve seen such progress. We can’t always say that during the course of one year so that’s wonderful!

  14. Beverley

    It has taken God all year to show me that what has happened to me is not my fault, I did not cause this, it just is what it is. For everything i accept, He places another layer of my life in front of me and waits for me to answer Him with, ‘it is not my fault, I did not cause this – it is what it is.
    I hope you find peace in your searching for acceptance. Pain is pain, it is all relative to the individual and no one else can ever know what your pain feels like, except God and he already knows.

      1. Beverley

        Lisa, right now my mother is very ill, but what bothers me more than what the doctors are saying is that she thinks she is going to die – all i keep telling myself is ‘i did not cause this, it is not my fault’ and whatever happens God knows it.

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Those words are so freeing. I had not realized that I was harboring any sort of blame on myself until I read what you wrote.
          Praying that your mother will find peace in what she is experiencing, and that you will continue to have peace as well. No, this is not your fault.

  15. Pingback: 2016: a felix culpa of a year | Luke 7:39

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