This is my third year of focusing on one word, and, I'll be honest, this year's took longer to come to me than the previous years', which were Trust and Dream. Maybe it was the house full of family; maybe I wasn't ready for my word. Who knows?
Three weeks ago I prayed for God to lead me to my word. Saturday, I grabbed my journal, my Bible, and my tiny book of passages. After thumbing through keywords, I jotted a handful down and read through the related passages. Then I read a few of my favorite chapters in the Bible. With my trusty purple pen, I wrote several passages in my journal. A theme arose.
I'm serious about my one word, so I bundled up and went to a nearby park. When I'm outside in nature I hear the Spirit without interruption. I crunched through the snow, wrapped my scarf tightly, and paused near a grouping of bird feeders. And I knew without doubt what my word for 2014 would be.
Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV)
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
This season of my life has brought a lot of unexpected stress. I bring some of it on myself by worrying about silly things. But the bottom line is that I've had to completely surrender to God the last two years, and it's scary. It's still scary!
I've seen so many of my prayers answered, but the big ones (and we all have big prayers, big dreams) have been on hold. When I've wanted to take matters in my own hands (get a part-time job, change the direction of my writing, fix my kids' problems...), I've deep-down known it was not God's will for me. So I'm sitting. Waiting. Writing. Praying. Trusting. Surrendering.
Sure, I could focus on "Miracles" or something about my personal goals, but God has something better for me. Peace in the midst of chaos. Peace in a long, long season of waiting. Peace in my relationships. Peace in our finances. Peace in my own shortcomings.
Instead of focusing on what I don't have or what I want, I can tell God what I need and thank him for all he has done. The thanking part is so important. It's easy to fixate on what I want or what's going wrong. But isn't it wonderful when we remember all we have? When we add up all the miracles already granted? God is such a good God!
I'm excited for 2014. No matter what happens, I know peace is just a prayer away.
What are you focusing on this year?
Have a peace-filled Monday!