Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Year Reflections 2014

It is time for the annual review and choosing a “year word” to guide my learning this year.  Last year I wrote, 

First, I believe that 2013 is a year of TRANSFORMATION. Now, that word in and of itself is terrifying to me. I am a creature of habit and change is not always my friend (yes, you can laugh knowing how many changes that our family has made in the last 3 years). I prefer quiet and home and the transformations in our lifestyle over the last few years I have known were preparing me for something. Maybe this is year I will more clearly define the something. The verse that accompanies this thought is probably obvious but here it is:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This year I want to be intentional about the things that I put into my mind, that I put things to memory that will transform me and edify me and aid me in edifying others.
Secondly, I believe that 2013 is a year of EMERGING from one way of life into something that God has been preparing me for all along. I don't know exactly what that is yet, but I believe that it will involve a more intentional emphasis on ministry and writing than I have had in the last few years. I can't wait to see what is planned!

In 2013, I did not emerge from the chaos of the year before.  No, I probably became even more entangled. I did not intentionally write much of anything. I did not see huge transformations in my life (other than yet another international move that was far from what I intended when I wrote those reflections).  I did not do much of anything at all with the words that I chose for 2013.

And, yet, I do not believe that it was a failure.

The words that are imprinted on my heart at the beginning of the year are just that---words.  I can use them to guide me and give me boundaries of purpose as I study and learn. I can allow them to give me freedom to explore new areas that I believe God is making me tender. Or, I can make them legalistic tools that dictate my writing and reading and reflecting. If I do the latter, I lose the joy of the year.  Last January I was truly excited about the pictures of metamorphosis I was seeing and knew that the picture could explain some of my yearning.  But I had no idea what God had in mind.  Yes, our life was transformed. Yes I did some things intentionally and furthered those foundations. But, no, it was not as I had planned.  I am choosing to believe that it is more of a success to keep getting up and follow as faithfully as I can what God is showing me than it is a failure to not have brilliant commentary on a couple of words chosen in faith.

So it is with more than a little apprehension that I choose a word for the 2014.  On Christmas morning, one of the ministers at our church was preaching on Simeon and Anna.  He said
 “Simeon was a man ready to recognize the work of the Spirit on the most significant of days only because he had walked with the Spirit on thousands of seemingly insignificant days…..Simeon had been promised he would not die before seeing the Messiah….So Simeon had waited and believed. And waited and believed. And waited and believed. For how long, we don’t precisely know. Years. Decades maybe. Through them all he waited and he believed.”
There are promises I have heard breathed in my heart and spirit.  I believe that they will come to fruition.  On Christmas morning some of those promises were re-whispered in my heart along with the admonition…Wait, and believe.  

My word for 2014 is WAIT.  I am not totally sure for what I am waiting.  It involves ministry and writing and family.  In the waiting I expect to find growth and contentment, but mostly I expect to find the Spirit teaching me to BELIEVE even when the timing is not my own.  As the sermon’s word on Christmas morning reminded me, “God’s people are a waiting people,” I want to be a waiting follower looking for what God is preparing for me.  

Thank you for waiting with me in 2013 when I was quiet. I am glad I have friends who have stayed with me.  As we wait on the Lord this year, may we find together meaning in what we see and experience.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

Lamentations 3:22-27 (The Message)

No comments: