Seems like every year before I’ve given much reflection as to what in the Sam-blazes my #OneWord365 will be, it comes at me like a fast ball pitched before I had a chance to swing at it. Of course when it does come, the sky doesn’t part like the Red Sea (‘though I’m down for that) nor does a tracker-ray, beam me up like a Star Trek transporter.
But none the less, it comes suddenly–an unexpected-out-of-the-blue word.
Many times now, I’ve begun the year by pondering what the future holds–summed into one teensey, tiny, word. Twelve packed months not comprised of a goal, a resolution list, or even a sentence. Just one word.
Several years back, my word was O U T W A R D. And every year since that one, I haven’t fit back into my former, comfortable bubble. Dang it!
If you don’t know what the #OneWord365 is, let me explain. Maybe it was bloggers who first participated in the challenge to allow God to define their new year with a, seemingly innocent, word, I don’t exactly know. But each year the movement grows.
You meditate on a word you feel God may be giving or directing you. But most times, you won’t even have a word in mind. At first.
Most times, you begin the year clueless even if the word inched its way into your vocabulary the year before. But somehow you were still oblivious to how this word would step over the new year and barge its way through the finish line like a “red rover, red rover, let this (whatever it is) come over.”
Sure, you planned this. You invited a word into your life. Just not necessarily the word you received when it was all done and said.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good in the sense that it’ll challenge, stretch, and grow you. Why?
Sometimes the word may not be one you would’ve dared speak, much less considered as part of your personal journey.
Or maybe the word, misshappenly, prophetically materialized and you thought, “Oh how precious!” Maybe it seemed noble, or elegant, or clever, or pious, or poetic, or simple.
Only to find out, you totally miscalculated this “innocent”, benign word. Like totally. You completely underestimated the power of a single word or how it’d challenge you to write books or foster children or speak in front of crowds or quit a job to homeschool kids or to quietly live an (im)patient year of fill in a blank.
You were ignorant, blissfully or not, of how a few letters from our phonic alphabet could affect your spiritual formation for a whole year.
Last year, that word for me was: P R O P E L. I wrote:
I plan to move onward, forward-like, following God into areas I’d only go because He took me there. He may have to carry me from a dead faint, but nowhere did Webster’s dictionary mention being conscious in order to propel.
I’m tempted to put my fingers in my ears and ‘fall-la-la-la’ the year away. But I can’t do that. None of us can, or in the least, none of us should.
Regardless of what your year brings, truth be told, we’re all propeling to what God’s called us.
The year before that, my one word was: I N V I T E. I took to Facebook and said:
Don’t let INVITE fool you. There is more to the story of how it will wreck us, if we let it. It is not your ordinary, simple One Word. Of course not. No One Word ever is. When a sole word involves your posture for the year to come, there are soul-splitting cogitations attached behind every tittle and dotted ‘i’.
And even if we try not to, God is there bringing His bigness into our smallness, stretching, pulling, enlarging, expanding His territory within, INVITE-ing the fullness of who are meant to be for Him.
So this year, audacity found me.
Um, excuse me God, I have a blog titled, The Art of Fear Not, afer all. Don’t I get points for that?
One has to be careful with A U D A C I T Y. Here’s a word that can skid off into arrogance, rashness, and defiance. On the other hand, antonyms such as discretion and prudence, in large enough doses, dampen our spiritual life like a cold, wet blanket.
Even worse, antonyms of cowardice, fear, and timidity bring me right back to this blog.
Obviously, I’m still wet behind the ears.
For instance, when it comes to those more charismatic expressions of worship, I can be a downright coward. When I’ve heard people being “slain in the Spirit” (where you basically fall over into a faint-like state after someone prays over you), I buckled my knees tighter to remain upright. Just in case.
Forget what I learned from being in the Army and how buckling knees is a sure-fire way to faint, anyhow.
And I’m not here to lodge theological points on the validity of charismatic expressions. Oh no. My motives are much simpler than that.
Mainly, it’s taken me years to finally get over myself to lift my hands in worship when I’ve felt lead too. And I’m not talking about fabricating an experience for the sake of an emotional high (or the appearance of one) like some spiritual addict.
I’m referring to my own crutch. I have a history with (self) control unless it involves chips and salsa, then forget it! But by the grace of God, that’s changing. Not the chips and salsa necessarily.
Having control of myself has been my safety, my comfort and also–my barrier and obstacle.
God is asking me to give more of myself, more of my control, more of my life to Him. And surrender comes to mind.
Scary, ain’t it? Apparently I’ve even taken to asking myself hypothetical questions. So let me answer, Yeeeeees, help me Jesus!
My #OneWord365 is interchanged with the prophetic synonym, surrender. Gee, haven’t I done enough of that already?
In other words, move those feet and go pray with that woman God laid on your heart. Speak that insanely awkward thing even though your brain is screaming, “Don’t budge that big toe!”
It means, write those unsteady, Godly-inspired words which send a tremble to your fingers and a hesitation at the keyboard. Have shameless boldness like David who danced in his underwear. Ok, maybe that’s going too far.
But you can be like a William Shatner show and discover your Raw Nerve. Develop your grit. Give it spunk.
Find your chutzpah.
::this is me blinking at 2017::
Are you doing the #OneWord365 challenge? If you’re not doing it, what would your one word be? But if you doing it, what is yours for 2017? How has your experience been with your previous one words?