When I discovered the One Word concept in place of New years resolutions, I think my soul took a deep breath. I have a long track record of broken resolutions in my past and so choosing only one word in the new year felt like a more manageable option–at the very least, I felt like I had less opportunity to fail.
But when I started this whole one word thing, I quickly discovered that it’s not me who chooses my words. I’m not sure I even have a say in it. The first word God gave me 4 years ago, was obedience. It’s safe to say that I would never have chosen that word.
The following year, he gave me the word, “trust”–again, not a word I would ever have selected.
Following trust, He whispered the word “heal”. I argued long with Him over that one, but in the end He won, because He’s God and 2 years prior He taught me difficult lessons about obedience and then led me to a place of trusting Him, and so of course, I surrendered to His healing. It was so hard (as I feared it would be). And so good (as I hoped it would be).
2014 was a year named “release” and all I could think of for weeks was that overplayed song from the movie, Frozen, “Let it go”. For weeks I wondered if God had given me the word, or if it was imbedded in my brain by the clever music writers at Disney. Eventually, I resized that it didn’t actually matter if God had chosen the word, (which I am now certain He did), because He uses all things for His purposes.
And so in 2014 I let go of some baggage. I let go of dreams, fears, plans, draining relationships, and so many faulty expectations. I learned the gift of creating art and releasing it into the world. I learned to let go of Sunday’s as another day in my week to get things done, as I walked more intentionally beside my sisters and mentor in the Sabbath Society.
Release turned out to be a good year, despite some particularly dark seasons. I hosted a retreat, took a new (unexpected) job, and founded GraceTable. All of these things came about because of God. The 3 years leading up to 2014, God used to prepare and equip me for what would come next. All of my words are connected and He has graciously been connecting some of the dots for me, like mapping the stars. While I don’t yet see the whole picture, I know I don’t need to. I know that what comes next is a new word, with new lessons, and new opportunities to explore what it is to live fully surrendered to God.
My history with generosity is less than impressive. In the earlier years of my faith, I begrudged tithing and giving because I suffered from a scarcity mentality. I believed if I gave things away, then I would be lacking. This is utter nonsense, though, if you read what God says about giving (and fasting):
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:7-9)
God has shown me throughout the last year, that by releasing what actually belongs to Him, and sharing it with others and those in need, we find the greater blessing. I have seen this. Repeatedly. And it is astounding. So many times, my willingness to let go of something for the benefit of another soul has been met with the reward of deep joy in Christ. I have never missed a single dollar that I’ve parted with as I have learned to let God guide my giving.
There is always enough when we have Christ in us. He is enough.
As I leaned in to ask Him about 2015, and what word he would choose to name this year, I shook my head in amazement at how perfectly my journey has been woven by His intentions. Reading again in Isaiah, these words kept out at me, and convicted my heart:
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:10-12)
Spend. That’s the word he chose for me this year. I checked and double checked with Him, I asked for confirmation numerous times, and just this morning, as I was pleading with Hm over the words I would write here, He led me back to the passage He’s been whispering to me for weeks.
I don’t think my word is about spending money (my husband will be relieved!) at least, not entirely. Isaiah 58 is about how we spend our life. This is it. We get a few turns around the globe and then we pass like a mist into the next world. This word, spend is an invitation.
I hear God asking me,
what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)
I already know the answer, I want to spend it for His glory. This year, I believe, He’s going to show me more of what that looks like.
Saturday morning, while most of you are still in your beds, I will be making my way to the airport, and eventually to the Dominican Republic. I have the privilege of traveling with Compassion International and 3 other bloggers on a Sponsor Tour, and will be writing about Child Sponsorship from there. I would love it if you would follow along, pray for me, for the team going, and for the children and families we will meet. Subscribe the the blog, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook to keep up.
What have you named 2015? What is your One Word?