Do you participate in the word of the year thing? If you’ve never heard of it, basically, you pray and ask God to give you a word…a banner that will arch across the next year as a guide. My first year I tried it, I was given the word Peace and the verse “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. That was a very difficult year and a hard lesson learned. The next year, I was given “gentleness” and discovered much about that word as well. By the end of my year of learning gentleness, I had decided I was pretty much done with lessons forever and preferred to just plateau spiritually and call it good. Just kidding. I didn’t really want to never grow again, but I did feel pretty bruised from the last lessons. I did really think about skipping the word thing for a year and taking it easy (or easier) for just one year…half a year? maybe?
But in mulling this around, I realized that those hard lessons would have come even without a word of the year. But, in the midst of those lessons, God had given me a focal point, something to aim at as I watched for His hand. I was actually surprised that I even remembered my word by the time February rolled around, much less was still thinking on it by December. (I’m not really a new years resolution kind of girl because I get all pumped about something and then never get past January.)
This year, my word was “love.” I was actually a bit confused the first several months, because my lessons were all focused on pride, not love. Turns out, humility is step 1 in learning to love. Who knew, right? I cannot truly love the way God calls us to until we lose my ridiculous need to look out for myself first and foremost.
The next lessons learned were a series of lessons on leadership. Those lessons didn’t even fully sink in until last month when a Godly woman repeatedly commented on situations of someone stepping into (what I would call) leading moments and praised their servant heart. Servant? But they’re leading… turns out, true leadership actually is serving. When I attempt to lead someone spiritually (whether my children or a Bible study group), I end up far off the path and distant in my relationship with God. When I do the exact same things but this time, in an attempt to serve that person or group, I draw closer to Him.
Here it is, December and before you know it, Christmas will have flown by and you’ll be staring straight into a brand new year. Want to try out a word of the year? Let him put a new song in your mouth to sing for 2015. I promise you’ll reap the harvest from it long after the year has passed.