Have you heard of choosing a word for your year?
Several years ago, there were some well known authors who encouraged the practice. But to tell you the truth, no matter what I chose, it wouldn't "stick." I had to work too hard to remember it and why I even chose it in the first place.
Until 2016! Bingo!
Bingo! because actually I didn't choose it. God did! I just received it.
And it was a beautiful word that I clung to every day and journaled it and watched it played out as each day came to a close. My beautiful, wonderful word warmed my soul:
And I saw the fullness of my indwelling Christ unfold day by day. (You can read my story right here). So I didn't want to necessarily change it for 2017.
But one day early in 2017, God changed it. Or maybe He rather focused that unfolding fullness for me. This is how it happened.
At the very end of 2016, we were traveling for the holidays. I woke up in the middle of the night with intense anxiety gripping my soul. All of a sudden the familiar feelings of inadequacy and inability were overwhelming me as the the thoughts of new and old commitments in 2017 came flooding into my mind. I was feeling as if everything had to be done in one day and of course I would fail! The lie again.
But then the Holy Spirit spoke His word of truth to my soul...my word for 2017:
Oh yes, Jesus, You are always so perfect ... so timely!
You are the Bread come down from heaven!
You are the Bread of Life!
You are my Manna for each day ... no more, no less!
Thank you for Your life giving "rhema" for my soul, my Daily Bread:
Your Fullness will unfold in my life day by day in just the right portion and just the right timing and in just the right way. You are amazing!
And so as 2017 unfolded, He revealed himself to me as more than enough day by day. And I discovered afresh the verse in the gospel of John,
From (out of) His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace [or bread upon bread].
Now what about 2018? Well, my word found me again this year.
In the midst of some long-lasting, deep grief from life circumstances and relationships, my blood pressure shot up again. It had been low and totally good for months and months. But it was in the midst of this broken mess that my word came. I wasn't even looking for it.
God spoke, "Rest" is your word for the year.
But what kind of "rest," Lord?
You'll see ...
I remembered the past year: my trying so hard (to initiate), my running ahead of the Lord (probably), my agonizing over what I'm not able to change.
And I remembered my favorite rest passage:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
That beautiful word "rest" is anapausis in the original ... that "deep inner rest even in the midst of our necessary labors." And so that deep inner rest can happen during any kind of activity, because it is the rest deep inside of me -- the peace of Christ, my abandonment to His indwelling Spirit, no matter the activity or lack thereof. (For more, see chapter 8, "Christ's Invitation to Faith," The With-ness of our God.)
And so I realized ...
God is moving me into the rest of deep and persistent prayer, a renewed rest in and abandonment to HIS almighty and timely doing, and yes, maybe even the physical rest of reading and watching my westerns on Me-TV.
I can't wait to see how my year of rest unfolds. (Although it seems to be beginning with another leg/hip injury: "He MAKES me lie down in green pastures." Psalm 23)
Dear friends, do you have a word or two that just won't let you go these days? Maybe that's YOUR word for 2018. Ask the Lord about it. Then receive it, journal it, and be amazed by it as I have been by words over the years.
And I would love to hear about your word if you would like to share it in the comments below.
With blessings for the new year ahead,
PS You might also like this series:
When I posted the link to this blog post on my facebook page, many of my friends began responding on facebook. I was so blessed by their words. Here are some of them:
Susan-- Mine is "trust
Dawn -- Mine is “less”...
Gail -- Mine is "believe."
Debbie -- I like "rest". Because of certain health issues, God has given me peace about resting more and feeling so blessed.
Jenna -- Mine is “firmly planted” from Ps1:1-3.
Diane -- Mine is joy in God goodness1
Cherie -- Decided this was my saying or my words and was at Hobby Lobby and there it was. Could not believe it. So, “Let all that you do be done in Love” is my word(s).
Stephanie -- A few weeks ago I sensed that it was to be "awe." So, I guess I'll claim it! As I go through Scripture, I am writing down what each passage tells me about God. I figure the more we know of who God is, the more awe we will have in Him.
Cindy -- Mine is "unfolding"
Marianne -- I’ve had a word (or two) for the last few years after being challenged by a friend. I’m always a little reluctant to let go of my words at the end of their year. Somehow God always sends me a new one that pushes me forward. This year I’m leaning toward “pursue “ but still waiting on confirmation.
Carmella -- I believe mine will come in the next 3 weeks
Karen -- I love this practice. 💝 This year I'm holding my word inside until I've lived into it for a while.
Diane -- Trust
LeighAnn -- I think my word might be "Listen". I need to listen more to God and to my loved ones - with eye contact.
Andora -- My word is Word (with a capital W).☺️