There are just hours left in this year in my part of the world, the year of 2014. Not days...
Only hours. And minutes. And seconds.
The fire is built, attempting to take the chill out of the air these last cold days have brought.
I decided to steal a few of these last moments to come sit here in this place with you.
On where I have been...
And where I am headed...
Each year I ask God to show me a word to focus on for the coming year. Since I have started this practice, I have been amazed at the events that my life encounters directly related to the word of my focus. For example...
2009 found this to be my word. I felt a selfishness buried deep in my soul that I knew I needed to work on. I wanted to learn to give more of my time, possessions, money, and my very self.
When I selected this word, I had no idea we would be asked to take in our little guy, let alone adopt him.
What God has taught me about my own selfishness has not been easy but oh so necessary. What God has shown me in the Bible and in the world around me about the blessings of generosity has been so revealing and affirming.
When I began 2010 with this as my word, I was sure my main focus would be learning to extend grace to others. Little did I know that God had plans to venture to the very depths of my soul, and that in those hidden places I would need to learn and be willing to extend grace... to myself.
was my word selected for the year of 2011. As I began praying about a new word
for 2012, this word continued to come to mind. I soon realized
I was not being released from this word. It was my word of the year
demanding intense focus for two years in a row!
This was my word for the year of 2013. On this side of it, I have no doubt that the focus on this word carried me through many days. To not just let things happen (or not), but to be intentional and purposeful.
And the Word of the Year for 2014 Goes to.....
My oh my, if I were to have any idea of what this last year had in store for me/us, I may have been a bit more hesitant to have so eagerly stepped over the threshold welcoming it. This last year required me to dive into a place of faith, trust, and belief in God and who He is in a whole new way.
Through a variety of circumstances that all seemed to happen at once (coincidence? I think not!), it was very clear to us that God was directing me to step away from my career of 20 years and my more recent title of the last 13... completely.
My/our time, energy, focus, and skill sets were to be used in other ways that would directly pour into others (starting with my children) and extending that out to meeting with other young women and couples, to joining the team at church in a supportive role, to opening my schedule to whatever He may have for it at any given moment in time for people. Relationships.
As wonderful as this all seemed, it caused me to realize that I would have to develop really living out my faith in a new and real way when we realized that, not only would I need to work through all that came with stepping away from something (at least for a season) I had spent so long building, but to follow these steps of what we clearly believed God was leading us to would decrease our income by more than 60%. (Never mind the fact that our oldest was heading away to his first year of college.)
I can honestly say, though not every moment and decision has been so easy, since having taken the initial step of faith and continuing to walk in ever increasing faith every moment of every day, I am not the least bit sorry nor do I have any regrets!
(More to come in the days ahead of what God has and is teaching and showing as we have taken the steps He has placed before us this last year...)
I will readily admit that just because I focus on a specific word for a year does not mean I have mastered it when the year is up! Far from it.
I could still use work in all of these areas... and every other word I have ever chosen as a focus for a year.
What it does mean is that I have many situations experienced, lessons learned, and Scriptures revealed that have molded that word deep into my memory and my heart. I have a greater sense of the true meaning of that word and how it should apply in my life.
Although I do believe I have been given my focus for 2015, it has not been my practice to share my current word of the year. I leave it between me and God alone. I feel that this allows for a more objective application of it into my life.
My style is to find Scriptures that apply to my word. I have heard of some people that choose a Scripture to focus on for the year.
Either way, I find it a great exercise in personal character growth. To have something that is a specific area of focus keeps me aware of the situations around me and chiseling away at the debris in my heart that needs a bit of attention.
Have you ever tried a similar thing before? Do you have a similar practice?
If you don't and would like to give it a try I would encourage you to go for it!