New Year. One Word. One Verse.
It’s that time again.
As Christmas approached and life felt calmer than it had for a long time, I realized I was enjoying the fruits of my one word last year. I had a whole list of words I was debating, interestingly enough, I didn’t remember the rest of them specifically, but as I think over last year I can remember moments of those words all being front and center and choosing to trust above all. In January 2014, I wrote a list for how I was going to choose to trust. Now, a year later, I can see how trust was just a first step (& a glimpse or two of growth).
My word for this year was hard for me to come up with, so much so I was debating if I was even going to “do it”. I was leaning more towards picking a verse to live by, to remember each day at random moments when things were “off”, to filter each upcoming circumstance thru; but then I started seeing all these posts about picking a verse…and the rebellion in me surfaced.
I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing.
So I did the mature thing (HA!). I decided I didn’t care and wasn’t going to participate in any of “it” this year. I’d just continue to focus on trust. After all, I have a long ways to go yet to be able to say I “get” the idea of trust.
in reading yet another book*; listening to yet another song* and having a resulting conversation with my daughter* (and finding out I was horribly wrong in that conversation*); and a couple Bible Studies later…. I was feeling as if I’d failed the whole year and hadn’t learn how to trust at all…..
there was a verse I’m sure I’ve read before. a verse I know I’ve heard before. but, it seriously slapped me in the face, Isaiah 43:18 & 19 from the Message, it stood in front of me waving it’s arms to get my attention – then it hit me. hard. like knocked the wind out of me:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert. Be present.
I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?”
- Forget about what’s happened?* I thought I was supposed to remember so I don’t repeat the mistakes I’ve made in the past.
- Don’t keep going over old history? I thought I was supposed to learn from the past in order to not waste the pain. I knew I wasn’t to dwell on it, but I did think I was supposed to use it as a reference point.*
- He is going to do something brand-new?* So, I should anticipate change?* I should look forward to something new? “It’s bursting out? Don’t you see it?” To me, this sounds like it means it’s something good, not to be afraid of. (I realize Jeremiah 29:11 says He has good plans for us, but I still haven’t ever enjoyed change, or the idea of change.)
When I read this, I all of a sudden had the image of me pushing His gift of grace & unconditional love back into His hands, of me telling Him (by my actions) Jesus wasn’t/isn’t enough. I was sickened. I’m sure it was the combination of doing an Advent Bible Study (an actual study, not activities like I’ve tried in the past) and working on Christmas gifts that His ultimate gift/giving a gift were so closely at the front of my mind. Since June I’ve been trying to grasp how extravagant our God is*. This is NOT a philosophy I’ve grown up with, believe, exercised, or even really considered to be truth – until June 2014.
Mind boggling. I realized I really did need to branch out my focus for 2015, to not just to focus on trust. but instead, what I was going to do with trust. I continued to pray & ask for help to see what He wanted me to see, hear what He wanted me to hear, and then trust what I saw & heard. I knew there were still pieces missing in my mind.
Then, in church another verse got me. Romans 12:12
“Rejoice in hope.
Be patient in tribulation.
Be constant in prayer.”
My answer: Hope. Anticipation. Patience. Prayer.
My answer, but not my word. It didn’t “feel” right, it wasn’t complete. Following is an incomplete copy/paste of my text conversation with a dear, dear sister-friend who knows ALL my ugly, understands my way of thinking, has listened to ENDLESS hours of my verbal processing, and helped me stay focused on Him. (by the way, this conversation was as she crossed over into 2015 and I was still waiting for the clock to turn over)
me: what is the word for imagine/anticipate/expect/look forward to?
her: Man, you said them all
me: there isn’t one word that means all of it? I’m trying to summarize my ‘one word’ for 2015. last year was trust – this year, Is 43:18&19 in the message is what I want to hang onto each morning
me: hope is what i’ve thought before, but i feel like the desperate part of hope has dropped off for me
her: Faith is the substance of things hoped for……..hope is made of faith
me: so which comes first
her: They flow together
me: so can you have faith without hope or hope without faith? Im’ confused on which I don’t have. or should i say – which i struggle with more
her: because you need to exercise acceptance. So maybe that is the word, acceptance
(I had forgotten I felt that way about the word hope – until getting on to write this post and seeing I wrote it a year ago. BUT, I’m so excited to note the “desperate part of hope has dropped off for me” without even really remembering it was something I was wanting to see changed!)
So I ushered in the new year thinking ‘acceptance’ was my one word…but I noticed when I’d think about writing it, I felt panicky. as in mind shut down panicky. A couple more days of prayer and a the middle of the night revelation (as in woke me up out of a hard sleep & I still remembered it in the morning!!!).
What was this middle of the night revelation? My problem with ‘acceptance’ was too often I have felt as if I had to accept something/s. circumstances I can’t change. it’s a feeling of being resigned to what is going on. I have a choice to choose a good attitude or not, but I can’t change what is happening.
Receive is the word I was looking for. Receive is the word that makes my soul sigh with relief. For your sake (& because of time restraints), I’m not going to explain all this means to me right now. :-) What I will say – I am thoroughly anticipating this new year and all it will bring like no other year before. I am eager to receive all He has in store – good and bad. hard and easy. deep and superficial. fleeting and long-lasting. Crazy, but I think I might actually be going down the right path. with the lights on so I can see.
* these are all bunny trails you can thank me for NOT taking you on (for today at least :-D). However, you can expect to see them brought up again in future posts. Just as soon as I can wrap my brain around processing them and writing it out.
I am linking up with the Faith Barista for Beloved Brews.