my word for this year: Jesus
On the topic of new year and resolutions and goal-making (of which I usually take small to no part) - many of my online friends and real-life friends have been asking God to give them a word. Their word for the new year.
This is not a new concept to me and last year I remember unofficially realizing sometime in February that I sensed 2013 was going to be about courage. God was asking us to be courageous in a variety of ways and though I didn't know all that meant then, I now (naturally) have a fuller picture of what bravery meant this year. I like the fullness of coming to an end of a year and seeing that God did, in fact, fulfill that little word project. A year of finding my courageous, finding my brave. Walking into a fertility specialists office and being willing to hear the results of months of tests. Attending the birth of a darling "nephew", because God is enough even when you can't bear your own children. Moving to a new/old town because God's say-so is elevated over my preference. Starting to write again, because perfect love casts out fear. It was, indeed, a full and fearless year. Not because I felt brave, but because I lived brave. And not because I have it in me, but because of Christ in me.
And I've been wrestling with my word this year. A bit of self-imposed pressure to discern it, admittedly, but a deep desire to know what God would have me center on this year. And a natural tendency to deliberately NOT do what others are doing simply because they are doing it (a fine little childish rebellion I have). And for a few days, I had begun to think: maybe my word for this year is HOPE. I wrote on this a few days ago, when the weight of what hope means settled heavily on my shoulders and I was cracked and broken before Father. And while I am still mulling on this word, I don't think that is it. I think now that I know what my word really is: The Word.
Just give me Jesus.
He is my Hope, yes. But He is my life and my song, my breath, the only One I need. In Him "we have life and that life is the light of men".
"We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast..." [Hebrews 6:19]
What could be more steadying, more sure, more GOOD, than centering on Jesus?
I often quote to myself from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe...when the Pevensie children meet Mr. & Mrs. Beaver in Narnia and the Beavers are telling the children all about Aslan, one of the children asks, "Is he safe?" Mr. Beaver replies:
"Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I serve this King. And I desire to repent daily, hourly for those moments in which I serve myself. This year, I want to center on Jesus - the King, my Hope, my Peace, the Giver of all good things, the author of Life.
I was just sat down hard by this lady's words - she does it often. Her obedience to God in words on a blog are often His voice for me, to encourage, challenge, rebuke, or teach. Today I read her post titled "The Most Important Skill That Your 2014 Really Needs" and it was there. It totally settled it for me. Jesus is the Word and He is MY Word.
The most important life skill to have in 2014 is to live aware that Jesus is the only life I have.
Nothing will happen this year apart from Him. Nothing will be remade, nothing will be transformed, nothing will be satisfying apart from Him. Jesus is the only life I have. His shed blood is the only blood I have. His given heart is the only heart I have. His identity is the only real identity I have.
The most important skill to have in 2014 is paying attention to Jesus — nothing else is worth spending your one beautiful year on.
The only real self-help you can ever really muster is preaching Jesus to yourself.
When I long for nothing else, desire nothing else, hope for nothing else, but Jesus — I have everything I ever hoped for.
This isn’t Sunday School cliché – this is real world oxygen. Try standing at a grave without Him. Try walking out of the doctor’s office without Him. Try picking through the minefield of life without clinging to Him. Try it –who knows how 2014 could explode?
Whatever you do, do it as Jesus. Whatever you do, do it as to Jesus.
The New Year just got ultra-simplified:
Do everything as Jesus. Do everything to Jesus. 8 words.
And the grace to actually do the everything? Just One Word: Jesus.
I have but one hope: turning my eyes and heart and thoughts and actions to Jesus. Cooperating with His life in me. Listening for His voice for me. Believing His Words are true.
This year already looks scary: my husband is losing his job, we may (or may not, given recent developments) be adopting another baby, and we need a new vehicle. I don't know how God will crunch the numbers or how He will employ my husband or if He will give us another beautiful child (please, Lord, we ask this of You!). Yesterday, after a harrowing series of phone calls and texts regarding the potential adoption, my heart was racing and my breathing was shallow and I could feel the panic rising in my throat. "I can't do this. I can't do it this way, I'm not ready to handle another loss." My husband gently shook my shoulders and said, "Okay, let's pray" and the first words out of his mouth were the eucharisteo, the prayer of thanksgiving...be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...and THEN....the peace of God...
Jesus is the only way. He's the only option. He's the only life. He Himself is the very grace He supplies to life unto Him. Jesus is how we will do 2014, Jesus is how we will do this week, Jesus is how we will do today.
It's only Jesus.