Do you choose a word each year?
I love the idea of having a word to define and direct each year. I see it as a way to filter out all of the good that comes our way, so that we can focus on the best – on those things that match the one word God has given us.
As 2017 started to draw to a close, I asked myself, “Have my past one words really affected my life?”
I went back and looked at what they were:
- 2015 – Present (learning to be present in each moment)
- 2016 – Position (positioning my heart to receive all that God has for me, and learning my position in Him)
- 2017 – Balance (learning balance in each area of my life, so that areas of my life aren’t being neglected)
And I found an amazing thing!
I really have grown in each of these areas. And the growth in these areas continues even today. I have opened my heart to the Holy Spirit to help me grow and mature, and that growth continues to build each year.
2017 was a hard year.
Early this year my best friend and 2/3 of her family went home to be with Jesus. My aunt and my husband’s aunt also passed away, as did a number of my friends.
It seems that each month I’ve said goodbye to a friend or loved one.
Also, our home experienced a sudden change to which we’re still struggling to adjust.
Our oldest began 1st grade and our youngest entered kindergarten. They are both late talkers and have expressive and receptive language delay partly due to their personalities and partly due to being bilingual.
This has required me to restructure my day so that we can focus more on learning and speaking.
Most of our daytime surrounds school: when they’re not in school (and about 90% of the time one of them is home, because of the odd school hours), we are doing homeschool or speech therapy.
This also means that my online business is run in the evening hours once they’ve gone to bed. It also means for a season I am burning the candle at both ends.
And suddenly I see all my words for the past 3 years have converged:
- Learning to be intentional and present even when I’m worn out and lacking sleep.
- Learning to position myself first thing in the morning to walk in the joy of the Lord, which gives me strength for the day.
- Learning to balance everything well so that the most important tasks get done first and I’m not falling into my “black holes” – my escapes, when I’m avoiding doing what needs to be done.
As I prayed and asked God to give me a specific word for 2018, one word kept coming back to my heart over and over…a word that I knew was so vital for me after a difficult 2017:
I need a year of revival.
I need revival in every area: marriage, family, homemaking, ministry, my health, and my spiritual walk with Jesus.
Not that these areas are necessarily suffering, but some of them have been coasting while I’ve scrambled to find my footing in the midst of all the crazy and messy that was 2017.
I’ve learning something very important this December:
I can spend my time wishing life could go back to simpler days when my kids were young and we didn’t have all the homework, and carpools, and last-minute trips to the store for a craft material someone needs for tomorrow; or I can spend my time making our new normal work for our home and creating an atmosphere of joy and peace that will sustain us and keep us in the middle of the crazy and messy that is our life right now.
And the only way I can help create an atmosphere of joy and peace is if I have joy and peace reigning in my own heart.
I can’t say that is a reality right now.
The reality is that my heart right now is full of stress, questions of whether or not I can do this, and panic when it all goes off the rails.
Sort of wondering when all of this will just blow to kingdom come.
But I know this:
- Stress is a denial of God’s sovereignty and an unconscious decision to make ourselves sovereign.
- I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. And He has strengthened my arms for this task!
- When life goes off the rails, its just another opportunity to learn a deeper level of faith.
- And all of this will only blow to kingdom come if I fail to allow Jesus to calm the storm in my heart.
So, I’ve sat down and created a rough strategy for opening my heart to allow God to bring revival into each area of my life.
I’ve also challenged myself to blogging through these areas in the month of January, as a way of challenging myself to examining ways to revive my marriage, parenting, homemaking, ministry, spiritual life, and health.
I’m really excited about sharing these with you!
One of the things I like to do each year is give myself the task to read books that will help me grow in the one word I’ve chosen for that year.
I didn’t do this last year, and I don’t know why. But I think God, by His grace, knew that this year I would barely have time to catch my breath, much less read through a library of books.
I never expect that I will actually get through all of them. This year I’m going to be getting some of these as audio books to listen to as I work and clean.
My list of books is a goal, not an expectation.
Here is a list of books I’d like to read this year (and probably into next year).
The Resolution for Women, by Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, and Stephen Kendrick
The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson
Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp
Spiritual Authority, by Watchman Nee
The Release of the Spirit, by Watchman Nee
The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges
When I Don’t Desire Joy, by John Piper
Mighty Prevailing Prayer, Wesley Duewel
Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore with Eric Westman
The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin
What is your one word for 2018?
Do you have a strategy to carry it out?