Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
In the freezing, snowing, cold and ice of North Dakota, lives a warm and lovely soul named Roxanne. I have never had the honor of meeting this delightful woman but her words have touched me and her spirit has inspired me. Even though our paths have never crossed, I feel like I’ve known her for years. She writes with such a convincing sweetness and honest zip, you just want to sit down and share a pot of coffee with her. More than a year ago, I read something she wrote about choosing a “word” for the year. Choosing a word for the year requires prayer and deep thought but if the process is done right, the result is a “God inspired” tool to help you navigate your way through a new year and all the challenges and celebrations it’s sure to bring. It seemed like a great idea, but I never really got around to it last year. I wanted to just pick my own without the prayer and deep thought so the result was less than wonderful. Ok, I’ll just be honest; I just picked one on my own and by February I had forgotten what the word was! Not so helpful! I read Roxanne’s posts and articles throughout the year 2013 and saw time and time again how truly inspired her word had been and the countless times God had offered His peace and comfort and sometimes even humor through her word for the year. This year I was determined to get it right! I got a message in mid-December and found out Roxanne already had her word for 2014…YIKES I knew I’d better get busy. Nothing like a 13 hour car ride to Kansas before Christmas to think and pray about my word…and so I did!
As we backed out of our icy driveway that Sunday morning headed for Kansas, I began to pray that God would inspire my thoughts and help me discover a word that would guide my year on a path closer to Him. It sat on my mind the whole trip, but as we pulled into my Dad’s driveway 13 hours later, I still didn’t have a word. I guess I expected a little light bulb to go on and illuminate my word written in perfect penmanship on a blackboard or something. I had nothing and I was a little frustrated to say the least. The only thing I did get a clear sense of was all the places I fell short in my discipleship; the more I thought about a guiding word, the more it felt like I was on a bad trip down memory lane 2013. As we began a few days with family and friends, I put it to the side and vowed to re-visit the process on the way home.
Friday came and we were once again packed in the car at the front end of a long drive and once again, I began praying about a word. In between praying, thinking, reading and goofing around with Dave and the kids, it all began to make sense. God was leading me on a backwards journey. Before He gave me a word to lead me, He wanted me to take a look at where I had been. After a very long and sometimes uncomfortable examination of conscience spanning the past twelve months, the word was as clear as a bell. God lovingly encouraged me to look long and hard at some of the areas of weakness and sin in my life. It was like a movie that just seemed to keep getting stuck in a few spots; and they weren’t the good spots! I really think He was inviting me to dwell there and take a good look so I wouldn’t ever want to go back…not because it was uncomfortable for me, but because it was those very places that kept me away from Him. As I began to pray about those spots in my 2013 and ask His forgiveness I began to realize there were concrete changes I needed to make in my life in order to be sure I didn’t wind up right back in the same yucky spot. I’m not gonna lie, I have a lot of work to do but as soon as I realized that and vowed to do the work, He gave me my word. It was as clear as a bell…a word I had never even considered and it came out of nowhere and it was unmistakable and powerful and exciting! It’s a very strong word, a busy word, a demanding word. My word tells me that I’ve got work to do and He will be there with me, but I’ve got to roll up my sleeves and get busy. It’s not a sweet comfy word like peace, happiness or prayerfulness; it’s a giant word, a mighty word, a “get busy” word. My word is…
I’m not going to tell you just yet what my word is. I’m going to try it on for a few weeks while each of you think and pray for your own. I think I wanted a word like Roxanne’s, I really liked her word and I spent a whole year trying to pick my own when I really should have let God choose it for me. You see, her word matched her journey, not mine! So, you and God get busy and pick a word and then we’ll all share. Remember, if you do it right, you will truly get a “God inspired” word to lead you through your year. I’m thinking this is a whole lot more powerful than any resolution. Don’t worry if it takes a few days and don’t worry if it involves a trip backwards through some of your “un-lovely” moments and days…it’s all part of the process. Rest assured in a couple weeks, I’ll be sharing my word and asking for yours. God bless you as you think and pray; and God bless Roxanne for this most excellent journey!
A Seed To Plant: Re-play 2013 and prayerfully ask God to reveal the ways He wants to draw you into a deeper relationship with Him. Ask Him for a word to guide you.
Blessings on your day!
I want to wish all of you a very blessed and happy Christmas! I am going to unplug for the next week and spend time with family and friends. I'll be back with more joyful words on Monday the 30th.
Enjoy a beautiful week; pray...rest...laugh...eat...and enjoy the simple blessings of life this Christmas week.
Blessings to you all!
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm
Things can get pretty crazy this time of year. It's such a joyous time when you've got a minute to stop and think about it; but finding a minute to stop and think can be a bit of a challenge. When I was a kid if you were sassy your mother made you stand in a corner. I think that's a lost form of discipline today but I'm not sure it was such a bad idea. The premise behind it makes sense...you're upset, saying things you don't mean to so go take a breath face the wall where there are no distractions and stand still to calm down. I sort of wish someone would send me to go stand in the corner! I could use a few minutes to be still without distractions and calm down. Truth is we don't really need a corner to do that but we do need to make a real effort to be still. Satan loves to use busyness and noise to dilute our focus.
Everybody loves babies, they're so cute and sweet and innocent and this time of year the image of the Baby Jesus fills our eyes and warms our hearts. It's hard to compete with a baby for attention so Satan has to pull out his big guns this time of year. Don't let him get you! Be still for a minute and imagine the manger that Mary and Joseph tenderly laid Jesus in. See the fresh straw, imagine the stable and the animals and the chilly night air; throw yourself right into the story. Be still and just soak in the events of that night. It's a bit like a spiritual standing in the corner.
We have a choice; we can get lost in the chaos, or pause at the manger and spend a few minutes a day getting ready for a love so overwhelming it's hard to imagine. So in the next few days leading up to Christmas, be still and know that the manger is more than a Christmas decoration.
A Seed To Plant: Take a few minutes each day between now and Christmas and gaze at a picture or image of the Christ Child and ponder the greatness of that night...your day will be changed!
Blessings on your day!
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