For many of us there are times in our lives where things seem to be out of order, out of place, and not making sense. At the time, it may even feel chaotic or uncertain. Later, once all the dust settles, we can begin to see clearly how God was ordering things and preparing the way for the change.
After this happens so many times in our lives, when things seem in upheaval, we start to wonder what God is up to. We still don’t have the answers or what the long term result will be, we simply trust that whatever it is… God is in control.
For myself, when I find myself in this season… I look for how God is getting things in order. What little things have been changing? What opportunities have suddenly presented themselves? Has God brought someone new in to my life, or taken someone out? Am I seeing roots severed, branches being pruned… a preparation to be transferred out of the comfy place I am in now … into new ground? Have I been stabilized by what pops up around me?
I look for the fingerprints in the moment, and I always find them. It’s assurance to me that once again, God is in control. And… I find peace.
I’ve believed that my 40th year was going to be a big deal. That exciting things were going to happen. I claimed the word “fearless” for 2018, because I don’t like to live in a spirit of fear… and the Bible tells us not to. I was going to do bold things.
Sometimes our dreams expand, or our territories.
Bold changes don’t always come how we expect them. Changes can be just as exciting as they are hard.
It was years ago that I first heard of the Prayer of Jabez. In 1 Chronicles 4:10, we read: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
I’ve heard the Prayer of Jabez related to financial gain, physical growth, and even prayed requesting the Lord to enlarge their reach so that they may share the Gospel with more people.
My friend Jay Sharpe, author of Chicken Lyrics, said “money is not the only way to richness”. I couldn’t agree more. Expansion can come in many different ways.
Lord, expand my territory to the borders you have ordained. Let me tend to whatever expansion you put before me, in the manner you have called me to serve. My faith is in you.
Of all the words my friends have chosen, I am glad to end the series on this one.
Seems so negative, that it had me scratching my head trying to understand. When she explained it, it was simply beautiful.
Unbecoming the expectations of others and becoming what God has called you to.
Unbecoming the lies you tell yourself, and becoming the confident woman God created you to be.
Unbecoming the labels you have tried to fulfill, and becoming unapologetically you.
A few days back, the word was new. To become new, requires unbecoming the old.
To thrive is to prosper or flourish. There are a lot of ways that we can prosper.
Prosperity is not just money, but also a measure of success… comfort… and well being.
When we thrive we are succeeding, prospering, blooming, growing, and have potential.
When we say that we want to thrive, it means we want to live… but not just physical living but elevated to doing something successful, important, or of value in our life. We don’t want to just get by, but instead do exceedingly well.
How would you like to thrive in 2018?
What areas in your life would you like to bloom and flourish?
Where would you like to experience success and growth?
There are things in this world we should be steadfast about.
To be steadfast is to be resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
We don’t like people who are wish-washy, who flip flop their beliefs or opinions based on who they are talking to. This is not to be confused with a person who has grown and over time changed their beliefs or opinions as they learn and experience life. We are talking about the person who talks out both sides of their mouth.
If we do not like these types of people in offices of authority, we also need to ensure that we are not those types of people and that we are steadfast in our own convictions and beliefs. Who I am in front of one person is who I am in front of another.
So many of our words from this series can be paired with steadfast.
I can be steadfast in my pursuit of joy, or peace. I can be steadfast in choosing gratitude, and love. I can be steadfast in my choice to move vs. be still. I can be steadfast in my faith.
Such a great word.
Have you ever said to someone, when working on a project, that you needed to just “get into the rhythm” or “find your rhythm”? Or perhaps you are one of those people who enjoy the wonderful sound of good rhythms in the background as you work on tedious projects?
Rhythm is defined as a pattern of movement or sound that repeats. My friend Faith that the mind likes order, it doesn’t like chaos. And, that a mind that is cluttered can’t act. So it is no surprise to me that the mind would like rhythm. It likes the expected and predictable. It likes to repeat patterns, it’s comforting and doesn’t challenge it. When we take music and pair it to work, especially rhythmically it pairs action with sound and I bet our minds just love this.
We keep time as we sing or play an instrument by clapping our hands or tapping our feet. Think of the old railroad workers passing the work time by as they sung to the rhythm of their spike mauls striking the heads of the railroad strikes. Hear the sound of the coach shouting “row… row… row… ” in order to keep the rowing team in time with one another.
Rhythm can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes we can become entranced by rhythm. We can get so caught up in the every day rhythms and we lose track of the beauty and interest of the world around us. Sometimes, we need a new song a new rhythm to change the mundane into something exciting.
What are the rhythms in your life right now?
Is is time for a new song?
I love Word of the Year options that are words that mean action. To pursue something is to chase after it.
The Lord pursued me, even when I rebelled.
And when my eyes were opened, and I saw His goodness…
I pursued Him. I wanted to know Him better, I wanted to know why He would pursue me.
I pursued this by digging into His Word.
If you want to claim this as your word for 2018, you have to accept that you are going to be called into action. There is something you want, and you need to run after it. You will pursue it.
Pursue financial freedom? What action steps are you going to take? What habits are you going to change?
Pursue better relationships? What commitment will that mean for you? Who are you going to pursue? And how?
Pursue a new job? Where are you going to look? What skills do you need to brush up on, or new education will you need?
Pursuit is not passive. It’s not just active, but is aggressive. You are not going to meander through life and call that pursuit. You are going to have to run for it, fight for it.
Remember the word yesterday, new? What did I say about it? I said that new was an opportunity.
We are faced with opportunities every day.
Opportunities to act, to do something, to take an adventure, to try something new, etc.
Opportunities not to act, to do the the same old thing, to stick with the status quo, to be complacent about life… never expecting better or worse.
To me, opportunities are exciting. Not every opportunity is going to work out exactly how we imagine it, but it’s still an opportunity. We learn what works and doesn’t, what we like and what we don’t. Some are opportunities that are done once and we move on with satisfaction we tried something new. Whereas, other opportunities become part of our lives long term… simply because we were open to it.
Do you know what I love about the word “new”? I love it’s endless implications.
The excitement of a new experience. The joy of a new family member. The peace of finding a new perspective. The opportunity of being a new creation.
New means that the old has gone away. I’ve replaced an old habit with a new one. I’ve replaced a broken down car with a reliable new one. I’ve replaced my past with a new future.
New means that I do not need to be shackled by was has happened, only open to what can happen.
Some people fear change, so much so that they would cling on to the comfort of the old… even when it isn’t good… because it’s familiar, expected, and predictable.
Challenge yourself to be open to new things.
Active word. You can’t be still and move at the same time. The Lord will call us to sit still in His presence, and the Lord will call us to go forth and make disciples. The Lord will ask us to wait on Him, and will ask us to trek a desert for forty years while we wait.
Not all waiting is passive.
But to move, is motion… momentum… movement.
We can move our bodies. Our spirit can be moved. Our mind can be moved to change, and our hearts moved to love. We can be moved to quiet meditation on His Word, or to pick up our mats and go. He may move us to action on the behalf of the least of these and to worship in His presence.
To move is to live.