|My sweet boy, Henry, with our vacuum|
Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you. (Deut 31:6, MSG)
Well, here we are. The last day of 2014. The days can seem long, but the years sure do go by fast, don’t they?
About 5 years ago, God gave me a single “word” for 2010. The word was “Breakthrough”. For years prior to that, I’d been like most folks, making the obligatory resolutions each year to lose weight, or to manage my time better. Not that those things are bad things…but making lists of these half-hearted resolutions never worked for me. I knew I was “supposed” to do them, but my heart just was never in it…so they didn’t happen. Can you relate?
So that year (in 2010), I changed things up a little. I asked God to give me HIS goals for the new year, in a language that I could understand. A language that would empassion me to actually…act. I expected God to provide detailed explanations to my seeking heart and prepared myself to listen and decipher. But instead, he spoke one single word…”breakthrough”. And so it began, this new tradition of allowing God to set my goals, and for each year since, He has lovingly wrapped them into a one-word theme that represents what He sees when He searches my heart. He knows what I need.
“Breakthrough”, “Dream”, “Praise” and “Gratitude” have been my one-word themes overarching the past 4 years, respectively. You can click on each word to read prior posts written about each.
2014’s word was “Gratitude” and I look forward to spending time today reading each of the 300+ “favorite part of the day” cards I wrote almost every day this past year. I have much to be grateful for. And I believe that this year of focusing on gratitude has prepared me for what lies ahead in 2015.
I gotta admit, the word for this new year scares me a little.
Y’all that’s a big word. I understand why God gave it to me for such a time as this. Because I need to work on it. I need to embrace it. I need to trust in the healing that He has done in my body and in my heart, and to live more courageously.
All through Scripture, God shows us that His heroes were and are the most unlikely. He chose fisherman, nerds, doubters, whiners, the sick, outcasts, and misfits to show unimaginable courage in the face of adversity and to become heroes in His plan. So I suppose I’m in good company with these unlikely courage-bearers. I find some comfort in that!
I will be going into this new year with some plans for change. Intentional acts that I know will stretch me and make me uncomfortable, but that will cultivate more courage in my often “fraidy-cat” heart. I have some things planned already, but I’ve also left room and margin for Him to guide me where He knows I need to go. I’m squirming just thinking about it. Yikes.
Have you considered what goals God is leading you to set for this New Year? I promise you, that if you will ask Him what His “one word” is for you, He will tell you. And then as you pray over that Word, He will reveal to you the actions you need to take in order to pursue it … and to pursue Him. It is powerful. I have found that one word is so much easier to focus on and truly immerse myself in than a long list of wordy goals. (This is what I mean about God speaking to us in our own language – He knows what is in our capacity to understand. In my case, he apparently knows that I can only handle one word!)
For me, my great “acts of courage” this year may look different than someone else’s because they are Spirit-driven and touch directly on areas of weakness for me personally. What is courageous for me may be easy-peasy to someone else. The same is true for you. Whatever your “one word” is, don’t benchmark your goals against someone else’s and perceive them to be lesser. God has spoken them uniquely and specifically for you, in your language. And that makes them perfect for you.
So friends, we would love for you to share your “one word” for 2015, as God speaks it to you. We can pray for one another and lift each other up as we enter this New Year full of promise and hope found in our amazing God who relentlessly pursues our hearts.
May we celebrate what God has done in 2014, and may each of you be richly blessed in 2015!
Melissa is an itinerant speaker/teacher, blogger and author residing in the South. She is single (although she prefers the term “unclaimed treasure”) and lives with her two children, Henry and Hannah, who are “technically” canine (ssshhhh… they don’t know they aren’t human). Her vision and passion for ministry is to shepherd others to the grace, hope, healing, and restoration found only in Jesus Christ! Through her own life journey, God has transformed her heart, and she has experienced the true meaning of “beauty from ashes”.
You can connect with Melissa through her web site, at www.infieldsofgrace.com.