One Word. A word to guide and direct my focus for the entire year.
In 2016, my word was Freedom. In 2017, my word was Courage. I can look back and see why God directed me to those words for those times. And so I know that God has given me my word for 2018 because of His good plans for me.
My faith used to be a lot bigger. I was more apt to trust God unquestioningly. Then life happened. God didn’t do what I wanted, when I wanted. And He allowed a lot of stuff I didn’t want at all. That sounds really bad, I guess – to admit that straight out. I sound like a petulant child. But it’s the truth.
It’s not that I don’t trust God at all. I do. I still believe all the things about Him I know to be true. But I do a lot more calculated planning and forming back-up plans and overthinking than I used to. Though I believe His plan is ultimately for my good, I also know that sometimes the middle part – the getting there – might be hard and unpleasant and not at all what I want. So I try to manage the details, mitigate any pain or damage, protect myself.
As you can imagine, this produces stress within me. Nothing causes anxiety like trying to take on God-responsibilities with human-strength.
And as it turns out, this difficulty trusting, this self-protection and second-guessing, doesn’t just stop with my relationship with God. Of course not. This affects my relationships with other people. Vulnerability is the key to forming connections and meaningful relationships. And if vulnerability is limited by self-protection and second-guessing and an attempt to mitigate any pain or damage, then all relationships are a challenge.
So my word for 2018 is trust. Just as God’s Spirit worked in me in 2016 to help me live in freedom, just as God built up courage within me in 2017, I pray that He will continue to heal wounds and grow my ability to trust in 2018.
The past couple years have been times of unraveling, coming undone. Wounds have been scrubbed raw so that the root cause can be healed. Now I am ready for healing. I am ready to trust. I am ready for 2018 and all the good that will come from vulnerability and trusting.
“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength” Isaiah 40:31