One Word 2015

One Word 2015

IMG_7190_pSSince we’re almost halfway through the year already I thought it might be time to write about my One Word for 2015. Other than posting a graphic on the sidebar, I haven’t mentioned it at all because truthfully, I didn’t understand it when it came to me that last day of December. I still don’t…fully.

By the end of the year I had narrowed my One Word possibilities to two. The first was fearless, but honestly, the more I thought about it, I had to admit what I wanted more than anything this year was change. Therefore, change would be my word. Ironically though, the first thing to change…was my word! It seemed God had a different idea.

On the last day of the year, while praying, I realized there was something about that word that just didn’t settle. It wasn’t quite right but I had no other ideas. Not wanting to force a focus unnecessarily or inaccurately, I considered abandoning this year’s One Word altogether. Then this single, unexplained, random word came to mind….receive. It didn’t make sense in my mind, but it did settle in my heart. I knew I had my word, but I had no idea what it meant for me.

Initially I thought receive had everything to do with the obvious…receiving from God. The only reason I could postulate as to why God began my year by giving me this word was that He must be indicating I was to receive some things from Him by the end of it, since after all, He is a God who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). It left me with a newfound sense of expectation. However, my first real inspiration concerning this word was much different than I expected.

It happened a few months into the year, on the heels of some hurtful words that were spoken to me. Unlike other times this had occurred, this time, instead of reeling from the blow, what came to me was, Guard your heart!, an admonition to not allow these words entrance…to not receive them. It was then that I realized this word receive was not only about some things I was to receive, but was also about some things I was not to receive.

Overwhelmed by this unexpected perspective and the unmistakable clarity of this, I finally looked up the meaning of the word. Much to my surprise, it coincided perfectly with what I sensed the Lord saying concerning guarding my heart, for one of the primary definitions of receive is

to permit to enter, to admit

Essentially, I was to refuse to permit damaging words an entrance into my heart where they would then have untold negative effects. I was also reminded it wasn’t only the hurtful words of others that could bring harm, but maybe even more damaging were the words I allowed into my heart from my own negative thoughts. Bill Johnson says it well…

“I cannot afford to have a thought in my head about me that is not in His”

Put plainly, no matter where the hurtful words, condemning thoughts, or demeaning voices are coming from, do not receive them…do not permit them entrance. Since another of the definitions of receive is…

to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate, to believe…

it’s alarmingly apparent we’ve underestimated the damage incurred from what we allow into our hearts…from words we receive.

Therefore, let’s guard these hearts of ours from intrusion as with spiritual barbed wire. Let’s not receive any words contrary to His words about any thing. The truth of the matter is…the enemy knows if he can get us to receive them, he can get us to believe them.

 

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.   Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Handling the Truth

Handling the Truth

two wayToday we’re one hundred days into 2014 and I am one hundred days into my One Word focus for the year. So…how’s this honest thing going? Actually, it’s taken a bit of an unexpected turn.

When I chose my One Word (or rather, when my One Word chose me), I was convinced the honest I was feeling drawn to was primarily about my being honest with God… honest about my feelings of disappointment, hopelessness, and discouragement. In a sudden wave of emotion, I realized that although I wasn’t willing to admit it for fear it would negate faith (which pretty much revealed I had none), my heart was broken and filled with doubt. Although filled with pain and dis-ease, I remained silent about symptoms even in the presence of the Physician, the One who specializes in healing the broken hearted. Since daring to be honest, within the first fifty days I found Him more than just a physician….I found Him a friend.

Another fifty days have passed now, and there’s been another unanticipated twist. This newfound friendship is wonderful, but you know what they say about friends, don’t you? The sign of a good one is that they’re willing to tell you the truth, being honest with you even when it’s hard. Well, needless to say, God is certainly a good one…the very definition of BFF. So, somehow in the midst of me being honest with God, I’m finding God being honest with me.

Now, I know it’s not as though God could be anything other than honest (after all, He doesn’t just tell the truth…He is the truth), but in my case it’s more like the scene in the movie A Few Good Men where actor Tom Cruise, playing a Navy lawyer, grills his witness demanding, “I want the truth“, to which his witness, played by Jack Nicholson, shouts in response, “You can’t handle the truth!” I’m thinking…that might be me.

Jesus declared to His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now“. Although this was probably the case with me too, seemingly the progression of this honesty focus has changed something. Honesty on my part has opened an unexpected door. Little did I know this was a two-way street. I wasn’t expecting oncoming traffic…the glare of light shining back at me. Nevertheless, I don’t mind one bit. Don’t hit the dimmer switch, Lord…leave it on high beam.

As glaring and revealing as this honesty God is speaking to me is, I’m happy about it. Even if it’s exposure, just hearing His voice is music to my ears. I know His voice because it always gets past the exterior, surface appearance of things and goes straight to the heart of the matter. It hurts and heals in the very same instant, providing the balm even before the bruise.  Always, amazingly… compassion, but never, ever compromise. Simply the honest truth.

It’s funny, I thought being honest with Him about my feelings would displease Him, but it seems to be having the opposite effect. And ever since I began to believe He could handle the truth, He seems to believe I can too.

Kings take pleasure in honest lips. Proverbs 16:3a

 

Linking up with Amy and friends over at The Messy Middle as we catch up on our One Word 365

A New Friend Fifty Days In

A New Friend Fifty Days In

800px-Best_Frends_Forever_-_Golden_Gate_bridge_guard_rail_166We are now seven weeks into the new year. Today marks fifty days since I received my One Word for 2014.  Since the Greek word Pentecost means fifty, I’m regarding today as my own personal Pentecost of sorts. I’m commemorating and reflected on what this past seven weeks has held in regards to my one word, Honest.

I’m new to this exercise of choosing a single word to concentrate on for an entire year.  I can see the wisdom in it, for I’ve learned some things about the power of focus. Honestly though (why yes…of course I’m being honest), I haven’t actually focused much on my word.  Like I said, I’m new to this idea so I haven’t known exactly how to proceed.  It’s funny though, even without trying, the word does keep popping up.  I hear myself using it in conversation or in writing (as you just saw), and it’s like a bell goes off in my head. It’s causing me pause, like punctuation in the narrative of my life, it’s slowing me down, creating time to consider whether I’m using this word Honest honestly.

Also, in ways I would have never expected, I can see it making a difference in my prayer life.  I’m finding that some of the formality with which I approach the Lord is gone.  This might not sound like a good thing, but unbeknownst to me, formality defined is the rigid observance of rules; a thing you must do as part of an official process, but that has little meaning and will not affect what happens. Could there be a worse description of prayer?

This word Honest is causing a more personal, intimate, might I say friendly communication with the Lord.  I’m drawing closer to the sentiment of Abba in addition to Father. One of the greatest longings of my heart, I dare say most people’s hearts, is to have someone to talk to. I can sense the yearning from the depths of my soul when I hear people speak of sincere, unguarded, intimate friendships. Surprisingly, this word is causing me to address the Lord as that person. To some this might seem obvious and to yet others impious, but for me let’s just say it’s unfamiliar.  It’s uncharted territory I’m traveling with slight trepidation. Nevertheless, I’m discovering an unexpected, welcome result. I’m sensing more love, more acceptance, more understanding and compassion from this God I’ve claimed to know as such.  It’s not as though I haven’t known Him in this way, but there’s a sweet comfort, the sense of a softer place to fall that I wasn’t aware I was missing in my relationship with Him.

As apprehensive as I’ve been about it, I’m experiencing a surprising peace in this new place and more and more I’m realizing that it’s really not frightening…it’s more like friendship. Honest!

I’m linking up over at The Messy Middle with others who are sharing what’s happened thus far with their One Word.

Photo Credit: Guillaume Paumier, CC-BY

 

Go here for my 100 day update.

One Word for 2014

One Word for 2014

OneWordIconI had no intention of doing this…none whatsoever.  I’ve seen the idea floating around for quite a while now.  I’ve noticed it on blogs and around Pinterest, but it was never appealing to me. Instead, on December 31 I found myself jotting down a few ideas concerning the new year. I listed some goals and desires, various thoughts about what I’d like to concentrate on this new year. But nothing was coming together.  Nothing was really new so I set the list aside without having made any connection to the thoughts on the page.  They were things I’d probably do without having formally written them down.

Then, early Wednesday morning, as I lay pondering the newly arrived year and breathing random thoughts to the Lord, tears started to flow, frustrations began to surface, and with trepidation and hesitation I found myself whispering,

“Can I just be honest with you, God?”

And wham!  It resounded in my ears, creating movement in seemingly sequestered recesses of my heart…that word HONEST.  It came with invitation in hand, beckoning me to follow what seemed like a treacherous path, a very slippery slope, one I have never dared to walk.  And yet, at the same time, it felt a wee bit like…freedom.

So, I’m trusting God can handle it and that it won’t send me spiraling into negativity. There are scriptures flooding my mind that seem to contradict…ones I’ve lived for over thirty-seven years as a Christian.  But, there’s these other thoughts too.  Thoughts of David, Asaph, Elijah, Jonah, Mary and Martha…all who had questions they were bold enough, HONEST enough, to pour out to the Lord.  And yes, He handled it.

I know…it seems ludicrous.  Do I think He doesn’t know what I’m thinking and feeling anyway?  I know it…in my head.  But this feels deeper than that.  There’s something going on in my heart concerning this and I’m going for it, looking to be honest not only with God but with myself too. Because sometimes, to be HONEST, I don’t know what I want or where I’m headed.   I’m trusting Him in this. We’ll see where it leads. We’ll see where He leads.

Find out more about One Word 365 

Update: Go here to read my observations 50 days later, and here 100 days later

 

 

The banner photo “Honest” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.  It is attributed to Marc Falardeau and was modified. The original version can be found here.