For the past two years, I have chosen one word as my theme for the year. Instead of making New Years’ resolutions, I have prayed and focused on the one word I felt God has placed on my heart to really live into for that year. The first year I did this, I chose the word Thrive. I had a slow sluggish start, but the last half of the year, I truly believe that I embraced and embodied that word in every sense. Last year, I felt the word Servant placed on my heart. Sadly, I got three months into 2015 and forgot I had even chosen the word servant as my one word for the year…just being honest. Have you ever had one of those years, where you just felt like life happened to you, without you having much of a say?? Yea, that was 2015 for me. So being able to focus on my one word for the year, kind of flew right out the window along with everything else.
2015 was a whirlwind. Within a matter of two months, my husband accepted a new job back in SC, we sold our house in Ohio, we bought a house in SC, found out we were pregnant with our third child, and I single handedly boxed all of our belongings in between first trimester waves of nausea. No joke! The rest of 2015, was spent settling into a new home and transitioning into a new routine for our family, and most importantly welcoming our sweet baby girl at the end of October. Which if you are a parent, you know that a new baby no matter if it is your first or fourth child, throws everything for a loop for a while. Which brings us to a new year, whew, just typing all that out and reliving it, wore me out. Like I said, there was little thought given to my “one word” for 2015.
So, here I am at the beginning of a new year, 2016. I’ve been praying that God would reveal to me the one word for this new year, and I believe He has although, I was a little confused at first, so let me explain. Since I felt as if 2015 “happened” to me, I really wanted to go into 2016 guns a blazin’ so to speak, ready for anything and everything God had for me. To really be able to pour into new friendships, to sink into the new community God has surrounded us with and even stretch myself in ways that are uncomfortable but feel that God has laid on my heart to do.
During Christmas, I was so consumed with reading blog after blog, book upon book and creating activities for me and my family in hopes to truly feel and experience Advent in a way I never had before. One morning while sitting in my blue chair, I heard God say, “why are you busying yourself like Martha, when all I’ve asked you to do is sit at my feet like Mary.” Whoa God, where did that come from.
That phrase has been echoing in my mind ever since. In fact, whenever I think of my one word for 2016, I think about what God said to me just a few weeks back during Advent along with the word Abide. So I decided to do some digging. I started first in Luke 10:38-42 where Jesus visits Martha and Mary.
“38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was distracted, she was busy preparing, while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Mary was concerned with only one thing and that one thing was sitting, soaking, remaining, ABIDING in Jesus’ presence, which Jesus himself said would not be taken from her. Then I looked up the word Abide and here are some definitions….to stay; to remain; to dwell; to be prepared for; to wait for. After my digging, I was confused. God knew my heart and how it felt like 2015 had happened to me, so I was ready to hit the ground running in 2016. No more remaining where I was or waiting for something to happen, how could Abide be my word for 2016??
I was sharing with my husband about my one word I felt God had placed on my heart and how I was confused after all of my findings. He being the all wise and knowing one, said, “but don’t you see, unless you ABIDE, unless you soak, remain, and sit at Jesus’ feet you wont be able to embrace all that He has for you in 2016.” Wow, how come I couldn’t make the connection before? I am very much like Martha. I have a Type A personality and my top strength is discipline. I concern myself with details, checking things off my on-going to-do list, with little time to abide, to sit, and to soak. God is teaching me that I need to let go of some things, so that I can embrace those things that are truly important. I want to really press into Jesus this year, to ABIDE in Him, so that He can show me what is important in His eyes and not what I think is important like a clean house or all the little boxes on my to-do list filled with check marks. I want to ABIDE in Him so that I will know what is the next right thing to do, instead of me navigating through life on my own. I want to ABIDE in Him so that I can bend towards my husband and love him the way God has purposed. I want to ABIDE in Him so that I can love each of my children in their own unique way and truly enjoy them. I want to ABIDE in him so that I can courageously step forward into the things He has called me to. I want to ABIDE in Him so that I can boldly establish new friendships and relationships. I want to ABIDE in Him so that in all things I can give thanks.
I am so excited to embrace my one word for this year and plan to keep on digging into God’s word and learning what it means to ABIDE. Have you chosen your one word for this year? I encourage you to do so and allow it to be a compass that will help you navigate and fully live in 2016.