"Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29
Welcome to 2019! It’s time for the annual word of the year post. I just learned that there is some sort of app that can generate your word for you. The folks I know who have tried it have gotten some pretty fancy words. One lady got the word “dazzle” and another got “fascination” and yet a third got “excitement”. After many weeks of prayer, my word is crystal clear…and once again it’s not very fancy. I say it’s not fancy because it involves work on my part. My word for 2019 is “CONSISTENT”. Wa-hoo! At first I pouted a little thinking this was a word that meant I was going to be tested and asked to actually plow through some stuff he’s been leading me toward for a while. After the word was clear, I spent several days asking him to help me actually like my word!
It’s been cause for a lot of reflection and it’s only the second day of January! In my prayer, I came across this verse from 1Samuel and it shined a giant spotlight on a couple of things that come with my word. I was pointed right to truthfulness and decisiveness. Truth hit my heart because we live in a world that seems to be a little allergic to honesty. It’s hard to know which headline or sound bite to believe. I know I can't do much to change that but I sure can work consistently to seek, defend, and live truth. Changing my mind is usually what happens when I loose steam and don’t finish what I started. It occurred to me that if consistent was a word I lived, I could be a little more Christ-like. I liked the thought of that!
I’m celebrating the last few hours of my birthday as I type and it’s been a great day. I think it’s been a great day because it had the best beginning. I went to church for a Eucharistic Holy Hour at 5:45 this morning and in the still and the quiet the thought that popped into my head (thank you Holy Spirit) was that being consistent didn’t mean being perfect. That was a huge relief. The verse points out that He is not a man and he won’t change his mind but I am human so he sort of expects it I think…phew! That little line took off some of the pressure for sure! As I begin this new year and pray about the way I’d like to live out this next birth year, I made a list of all the places I needed to be more consistent. When I finished, the list wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it might be. I am the queen of stop and start…green light and red light…hurry up, go crazy and then stall out! I believe the words I need to adopt are finish what you start with consistent progress. I think I can do that!
As I was looking at the list of things that need my new word and making a plan, I realized I probably need to find the root of my inconsistency. I’m usually in perpetual motion and get lots of stuff done but there are those few things that just never turn out quite like I thought they would when I got started. I need to spend some time in prayer thinking about why! Some of them are big things like writing a book and others are small like praying a daily Rosary EVERY day. Some are just yucky like keeping papers graded and my desk free from piles and some are hard like consistently eating right and speaking truthfully and kindly to everyone. My new word seems to fit everywhere but I need to figure out how to use it well. I’ll keep you posted!
A Seed To Plant: What’s your word? Share it if you have one so we can all pray for each other as we figure out how to live our word!
Blessings on your day!
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:8
My word for the year is BE. I’ve spent the last two weeks praying about what God wants me to BE most. I’m here to tell you, he’s made it perfectly and painfully clear. I sort of forgot how clear he can be when I honestly and humbly ask him to show me something. It has been an ugly couple of weeks. On the outside I looked ok…my shoes matched and my teeth were brushed; you know, the important stuff for the world to see, but on the inside I’ve been a train wreck. Of course I didn’t want anyone to see that, I just tried to keep it all tucked away because as a general rule, we don’t like folks to know when we’re a hot mess but for some reason part of my “BE-ing” is to tell you what he’s shown me. Even though he’s been challenging me in a gigantic way, he’s also lovingly allowed me to stumble across some mighty words from some Holy Saints to guide and direct me.
“The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.” St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
I tell classes and audiences all the time that God calls us each to serve in a unique way according to the gifts and talents he’s blessed us with. He has clearly pointed out that I haven't been taking that statement to heart. He has thrown a spotlight on the fact that I spend too much time yearning to “make it big” instead of serving wherever he sends me. While I’m dreaming about speaking in huge convention centers and being noticed as a “Catholic Rock Star” he has made it very clear that I’m being prideful and wishing for someone else spot. He very clearly pointed out that whether there are 15 gathered in a church basement, 22 sitting in my classroom or a thousand in an auditorium; they are all HIS. My talents are about serving HIS children not my ego. He has made it very clear that I am to serve where he puts me. I’m wrestling with BE-ing content and BE-ing in the present. The world tells me to dream big and go for it; God is inviting me to be humble and use the gifts he gave me to bring glory to him.
To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. -St. John Neumann
While part of me sees the need to be content; he’s been glaringly pointing to the areas of my life where I desperately need to make big changes. Like a pebble in my shoe, he’s been pointing them out many times each day. I made my list of things I needed to do better in 2018 and he keeps pointing them out like a bad movie stuck on rewind. For at least a decade a few of the things on that list have remained the same. He’s asking me to be serious about those changes. If I really want time to read more or pray more I have to hack away some things to make that time; like Facebook and Twitter. One day as I was pondering more prayer while scrolling my newsfeed, my computer went completely black…message received! If I really want to be stronger and healthier I have to change what I eat and how I move. Those are changes that I have always struggled with but one day last week as I was thinking about all the reasons it’s so hard to make those changes, the chair I was sitting on literally broke beneath me. I’m telling ya, he’s challenging me in every corner of my life!
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. -Saint Augustine
Pride and humility are a big battle in the life of a christian. Humility has nothing to do with weakness and complacency but rather has everything to do with living the Gospel message and acting like Jesus. In the past two weeks I’ve had several people point out mistakes I’ve made and places I’ve fallen short. Those situations have been uncomfortable and embarrassing but God has called me to look at myself honestly and react humbly. I guess I didn’t get it right the first few times so he’s given me a few more opportunities to get it right. I’m truly a work in progress in this area and it’s clear he isn’t going to let up until I get better. Stay tuned because I have a feeling I’m going to be doing some studying about humility and pride and I just may have to share some lessons.
God is good, even when he isn’t easy on us. The past two weeks haven't been pretty! I’ve cried, felt defeated, embarrassed and frustrated. There has been darkness, sadness and then times of joy as I have felt his loving presence throughout this whole process. This was a tough post to write; it’s pretty raw and perhaps not as joyful as others but it’s real!This tiny little word, BE has turned out to be mighty. As I get ready to hit the publish button, I have to BE confident that he’ll use my “hot mess” of a life this month to touch a heart or two.
A Seed To Plant: Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you what he desires for your life and then see if you’re getting in his way.
Blessings on your day!
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