All the cool bloggers are riding this "One Word" train in lieu of new years resolutions and I totally get it. Resolutions are daunting, overwhelming, and in most cases very ineffective. Resolutions have a way of burning brightly for a week or two before we realize that our resolution is not a fast fix, not something we can revolutionize in such a short amount of time. Setbacks hit, frustrations slow us down and we come to a grinding halt. Just like that, we are right back where we started.
One word sounds so much simpler, doesn't it? One word to focus on, one word to pray about, one word to change the way we live every arena of our life.
I've seen people choose such wonderful words.
It's such a neat concept and I thought about jumping on the bandwagon as 2013 drew to a close, but.....life got in the way. Before I knew it, the calendar page had flipped and I hadn't really thought or prayed about what my word might be. Of course, my over-anxious catastrophic personality jumped right to the extreme and I decided I just wasn't meant to have any resolutions this year, not even a single word. And I most certainly did not fall into the category of the cool bloggers who would be able to create an entire series of posts about their word and how it was revolutionizing their world, right down to the shampoo they use and the food they eat.
And then the whisper came. So quiet and subtle I could barely hear it.
"No," I said, "that cannot possibly be my word."
I heard it again, louder this time. And far more insistent.
Sometimes I try to brush away the voice of the Holy Spirit as lightly as one might wave away a fly on a warm summer afternoon, not really paying it much mine other than to acknowledge its presence. Every so often, I discover that the Lord has something that he really, really needs me to hear and it doesn't matter if I'm reading my Bible every day, spending an hour in prayer every morning, or memorizing new scriptures every week. As it turns out, God knows my tendency to try to DO more and more under my own power to achieve acceptance, love, success....even GRACE.
It was time to do something about it.
The whisper that started so gently became louder and stronger every day before I couldn't ignore it any longer.
Worry less - trust and pray more.
Be content with less and stop being jealous of others or unsatisfied with what you've been blessed with.
Spend less money, less distractions, less excuses.
Think less about yourself and so so much more about others.
Less relying on my own power and more submission to the God who never fails.
I could go on and on. The more I thought about it, the more I could see this word permeating every area of my life I felt unsettled in - my family, mental health, faith, health, career (or lack thereof), and more. I'm not going to try to write a big series about it where I get all deep into how this one word is changing my life this year, but that's not my goal. I guess I just wanted to get it out, to move all these thoughts from inside my head and heart out through my fingers. It's just the way I process things.
So this will be my year of learning to be less. It reminds me of how John the Baptist responded when people started to question how he felt about all his followers switching over to Jesus' camp. His response was this: "This joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:29-30)
May that be what the Lord works in my heart this year....that He will increase and I will decrease.