Hey there! Did you survive the manic craziness of Christmas? Is the house back in one piece, yet? Grab a cuppa something hot, find a comfy spot and take 5. You need it, you’ve earned it! So, now we’re staring at a new year. Got your resolutions handy? Ready to get to that party, or several?
I have a group of friends who have done the new year ‘right’ for many years now. They get together, eat and visit, play games if they want, whatever. Around 11pm, they circle up and begin focusing on the Lord. They recount His blessings, ask for His help, and state their desires to live more fully for Him in the coming year. They pray together, until midnight, when they say Amen. Couples kiss, kids giggle, and the Lord looks down with a big smile on His face.
Instead of a New Year’s Resolution – which I used to make and like everyone else, never kept – I start praying during Advent and ask the Lord what my word for the coming year is. I used to attend a church that did the same, both as individuals and as a corporate body. Over the past years these have included: see, joy, ascend, courage, endurance, believe, trust, hope, transform, freedom, deep, repent, forgive, redemption, focus, woe, and others. It’s always interesting what the Lord gives, and how He works on it through out the year.
Last year, (2014) my word was Worship. You have to know the back story – I was at the 8 year mark of a very dry spell. Up through January and into February, it was just desert dry most of the time. Occasionally I’d get an instant of feeling, or a half of a verse of a song would get through for a minute. But mostly, even music wasn’t a great consolation to me at that point, although I was going to sleep every night listening to the deepest worship music I owned, desperately hoping against hope that it would reach my heart.
I can tell you exactly where I was when literally out of the blue, He spoke three sentences to me. I was driving past a local motorcycle dealership. He said this: “Your word for 2014 is Worship. I want you to go deep. I need you to lay down a couple of distractions: your search for a new house out in the country, and your search for a mate.” I immediately said, “Okay, but I’m gonna need a LOT of help with this. I don’t even know how to start.” The whole thing was hard, because I’d had such a rich life of worship and prayer before. Now, instead of prayers of the heart and from the Scriptures rolling off my tongue for literal hours, I had no words for prayer. I really felt like I had spiritual ADHD – I couldn’t concentrate in prayer for even a couple of minutes without becoming completely distracted. I had almost no heart or emotional connection even with music, which used to be able to catapult me into the heavens with just a couple of lines of the right lyric. I’d been looking for a country house for ten years, and begging Him for a husband for longer than that. He asked me to lay those down.
The short story is that He restored so much in such a short time and you’ve read some of that in my prior posts. He gave me contentment with my current house and also with being single sometime in the summer.
The point here is that you can also ask for your own word for the year. I know what mine is for 2015, and I also know why it’s my word for the year. I’m quite certain I’ll learn a great deal past that. I’ll share it later, but right now the ball is in your court. Get quiet, get into a listening mode, and ask Him. Then trust that the word you get is His word for you, no matter how strange or uncomfortable it may seem. He has a reason, and He will unfold it as the year progresses if you will stick with Him in that word. It’s not about perfection, but growth.
As always, if you want to discuss it with someone, find a pastor or a priest. Bounce it off a mature Christian friend. Have someone pray about it with you. Remember, we aren’t doing any of this alone. We are a family. In community. Looking for a word from the Word.
I’m looking forward to the New Year. How about you? We’ll get together again soon!