my “word” for 2016

Posted: November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have two “lists” that I’m currently holding up before God on my 40-day prayer journey to conclude 2015 and usher in 2016.  The one I’m very focused on is the list that is prayers for other people; I built that list with a lot of listening prayer, and I continue to add shape and nuance to the list as I pray it through and watch things move and change.

The other list, I may glance quickly over most days, but I’m trying to just leave it alone and trust that God is on it.  That’s the list of things I’m asking Him for ME.  Most of the years I’ve done this, I think those answers have come slowly over the duration of the 40 days, or right at the end, or even a little – or a long time – after the 40 days are done.  This is the way I *expect* it to be, based on experience.

I’ve been surprised, then, at how much has been answered from both lists in the first 7 days.  I feel like God is chuckling at my “low and slow” expectations for answers.  I have some friends who love to celebrate when God “shows off”…this feels like one of those seasons for me.  That makes the project even more fun and exciting for me than it usually is.

One of the things on my list was that I asked God to give me a “word” for 2016.  This is a practice I picked up from our pastors, who have in the past encouraged leadership staff to do so.  In 2014, I resisted the idea and decided not to do it; God laughed and made my word(s) for that year “Speak Forth.”  Then He took the words and brought them to amazing fruition, and has continued to work in that area since – He just keeps giving and giving, on that front.  In 2015, I gave up my resistance and He gave me two words for the year:  “intention” and “discipline.”  I was all over it early in the year, and then I kind of went into attention deficit mode – but looking back, He’s continued to work those things into me, even when I lost track for awhile.

So I asked for a word for 2016, and I expected to get that somewhere around January 1, since in theory I don’t *need* it until then.  I’ve been happily surprised to discover that He already gave me a word.  When?  On DAY ONE of this adventure.  I’m a skeptic and a self-doubter, so I took it with a grain of salt, but He’s been confirming it in multiple ways every day, and so I’m making the decision to just believe Him already.  The word?  REST.

This is the last thing I would expect for a word *for a year* for my life.  I expect words that are obviously about growing or clearly about trying harder and doing better.  “Rest?”  Seriously?  This was part of why I doubted, when it came to me on day one.  “Rest” doesn’t feel like a push toward excellence to me – and that thought just shows me the height and depth of the fat-headed pride that drives me, in its presumptivity.

Amidst the ensuing conversation with God about the word, He has brought to my mind countless conversations I’ve had, mostly with my daughter, about the fact that I almost don’t know how to rest anymore.  I almost can’t do it.  While I used to rock at setting aside time to be quiet and still, as I get older I am increasingly driven to activity.

My hubby G almost always uses one of his days off each week as a “sabbath,” even when it doesn’t fall on the Jewish-prescribed Saturday.  He knows how to take a day off.  He understands it as a directive from God and believes in its importance.

I agree in theory, but in practice, not so much.  When I have time off, my mind is filled with lists of things I can get done.  Big blocks of time off work equal capacity for bigger work projects.  A quiet day at home for me usually means hard enough labor that I’m in enough pain by bedtime to guarantee a difficult night for sleeping.  I have become all about “gettin’ it done,” at the expense of more or less forgetting how to rest.  This is, to me, a highly unexpected turn of events – thus the repeated conversations with my daughter about who I’m turning out to be as I approach 50.  I have found myself grateful for grandbabies living near, as this is one of the only things that causes me to stop the hurry and hustle – the chance to go sit with them, play with them, and just watch them being who they are.

In the past seven days, my devotional readings have taken me to rest.  The podcasts I so enjoy have focused there.  Conversations with others have unexpectedly turned there.  The message is confirmed, stamped and sealed – “rest” is for sure my word for 2016.  So I find myself excited as I begin to consider it, and curious about what that journey will look like.  I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised at the word – after all, I’m 49, which kind of makes this year my “jubilee of jubilees” – looks like I’ll be finishing that strong as I slide into 50, come March.

How about you?  Have you ever had a word for a year?  Are you watching for one for 2016?  I’d love to hear all about it.

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Comments
  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    My word for the past 2 years has been TRUST. I have had many opportunities to trust God, to really place my trust in him, and to watch him work in that trust. I am certain the growing and learning in that arena is not done because I shall always need to trust him. I have learned in that trust area to give him my fears in the wee hours of the night, when I am most vulnerable to anxiety and terror over my boys. I have learned to just pray seeking his calmness and his peace. I have had to trust him when our youngest moved to AZ and had some big trouble land in his lap over choices he made; when a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer just a year ago and has walked as a light for Christ this past year; as my dad had open heart surgery; and as I had done day to day life. There are many more examples but PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME, He has not let me walk alone!!! God is so GOOD!

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