Debate the validity of picking one word for the year at its beginning or end, it’s fine. The jury is still out on whether or not I will be picking a word or phrase this year. I have been fairly dramatic and vocal about my reasoning for not choosing one this year. Words are beautiful and vast and also so very complicated and confusing. They have the power to transforms hearts and relationships and I would not be an English teacher if I did not believe in the value of language. There are many words God has created in this language and He is sovereign to sum all of His creation into one: good.
I have never been one for resolutions. Although, being a very goal-oriented person I tend to want to rebel against the idea that at the start of the new year I have to have a vision for the coming year. I already set an hour or so on the first day of each month to establish goals and work through what my vision for the month so the thought of doing that at the beginning of the year seems repetitive and expected but I did however, many years ago I fell hard into choosing a word or phrase to define the year.
I struggle this year to pick a word to define what I want in 2019 because what I think I am asking for at the start always turns out to be something different at the end. As for me, at the beginning of 2018 I asked for “settle” and “cultivate”. Upon reflection on the first couple days of 2019, I know that this past year turned out to be more “disruptive” and “confusing”. And upon further reflection, I have come to realize they are not so different after all.
Time has a way of doing this to us, completely disregarding our expectations and giving us nothing of what we asked for. When I asked for “settled”, the Lord disrupted almost every aspect of my life. I felt confused for most 2018. Nothing in my life seemed to move forward, it felt like it stayed the same or moved backward. I found myself back on the couch of my counselor working through junk in my heart and desperately wanting reconciliation from the Lord for the season in which He allowed me walk through. I prayed for healing yet had a worsening diagnosis with an issue that doctors do not understand; I pursued opportunities that I felt His leading in only to have hopes dashed; I spent a lot of the year unsure of next steps and walking around in a fog merely surviving until I feel like I was no longer drowning.
It was a long year. Looking back, I see the year’s and dark moments and the tears shed but I am also so keenly aware how kind the Lord was in it and how my year was scattered with the sweetest of moments and overall the good outweighed the hard. And how ‘I had heard of You by the hearing of my ear but now my eye see You (Job 42:5)’. In His graciousness, He cultivated new friendships when friendships were shifting and the fear of abandonment rules my thoughts; He resparked a desire in my heart to lean into His Word more intentionally and purposely, He showed me I can do hard things. He displayed His grace and kindness in the sweetest of ways. In His goodness, God made what seemed so disruptive to feel settled.
He gave exactly what I asked for but in way I didn’t expect but isn’t that how it always works? He transformed my heart in ways I never desired and wouldn’t have asked for. His truth is packed so deep down in my soul that I can stand firmly on them. He did not change my circumstance or even come close to answering my deepest prayers but He just let His truth settle.
As I walk into this coming year, I feel the Lord reminding is me to have hope despite my stubbornness to chose a word or phrase to mark my year, because it’s in Him we ultimately find peace He can use whatever word for His good and glory. I have no idea what at the end of 2019 will be revealed to be God’s best for my life but I am certain at the beginning of 2019 He is asking more of the same: pursue Him and sit at His feet, walk in obedience, do the hard work of restoration, show up when I don’t want to, dive into vulnerable, transparent community that pushes me to the cross, and rest in His unending grace.