Monday, January 9th, 2017
I wasn’t even planning to set a word for 2017, but a gentle and persistent nudging has led me to put words to paper (and screen, as it may be) and set a “Word for the Year.” I have never set a word for the year before but, if someone asked me to tell them what word(s) seemed to permeate my life over the last several years, my answer would look a bit like this:
Resilience, pain, growth, doubt, victory
These years have brought with them the lesson that my life isn’t happening to me. I am happening to my life.
I am resilient and strong, I overcome; that is who I am.
God and I have wrestled quite a bit the last 365 days (and the 365 before that and the 365 before that, If I’m being honest). I’ve never wrestled to the point of unbelief but I have certainly allowed anger and doubt and pain and confusion to enter the ring with me.
Some of the events of the last three years truly shook my core. The things I thought I knew and was sure of were turned upside down. It happened slowly but, as I lived through it, it seemed that all of a sudden nothing was as it used to be. It seemed that my cries to God went continually unanswered. Where was He? Where was He in my life, my circumstances, the world?
Everything needed to be sorted again.
People that knew me four or five years ago might be wholly unable to recognize me now. For better. And for worse.
But 2016 was a year of reckoning. I never stepped out of that ring and I see now that God didn’t either. And, over the last couple of months it became clear that I wasn’t interested in wrestling anymore.
I wanted to struggle less. I decided to surrender. Maybe I could stop working so hard for a while and let God do the fighting for me.
Maybe I could just try trusting that He would walk me through this season of upheaval. Perhaps He isn’t absent in the upending of all the things I thought I knew and believed and understood. Perhaps He didn’t abandon me.
Something inside of me is being pruned and plucked, re-seeded and watered as though a determined gardener has decided to walk through the prickly and dusty fields of my soul. The Holy Spirit has been wending its way into my life for months now, and I feel that with the birth of the New Year so also is something being birthed within me.
Those close to me, and maybe someday I’ll feel ready to share with others, know that the last few years have had some incredibly bleak moments.
A new morning dawned on January 1, 2017.
I am grasping for the clean slate it offers.
For 2017 I am working toward:
Less in exchange for more.
That shall be my mantra, my prayer, my intention.
…of the material for more space.
…screen time for more book time and face-to-face time.
…takeout for more home cooked nourishment.
…busy for more fulfillment.
…doubt for more ease in the mystery.
…anxiety for more peace.
…mindless consuming for more thoughtful purchasing.
…dreams for more realities.
…sitting still for more exploring.
…taking for granted for more cherishing.
…apathy for more justice.
…complacency for more ambition.
…routine for more spontaneity.
…”too tired, too busy, too stressed” for more love and memory and laughter making.
…rushing to do dishes for more time spent in relationship building around the table.
…comfort for more reaching outside my comfort zone.
…religion for more Jesus.
…noise for more peace.
…worry for more trust.
…status quo for more moving against the flow.
…frustration for more forgiveness.
…grudge holding and judgement making for more grace, more mercy, more love.
…Martha for more Mary. Oh that I could quit working so hard and just sit at the feet.
More laughter, grace, mercy, justice, forgiveness.
More love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.
Less of everything else.
I’m so tired of the everything else.
My spirit is weary. My heart is overburdened.
This year I will not be afraid of less.