Happy new year, friends! I hope the year is off to a good start for you and that you are feeling filled with the energy that a new beginning can bring. When I was young we had a fun tradition of writing new year's resolutions together as a family. My dad kept them in a thin folder that he pulled out to reread to us in early January each year. They always made us laugh and usually humbled us as we remembered how hopeful we had been twelve months before. Such are resolutions, right? I still bite my nails....
This year as 2014 was drawing to a close, I was feeling prompted to pick a theme word for the new year, something to keep me focused and also challenge me to pursue transformation, rather than settling for mediocre. It is easy to settle, isn't it? It is easy to believe the hopeless message that some things about us will never change.
But God's Word tells a different story. God gives us this message:
I have come to give you life, abundant life!
I have come to set you free from sin and death!
I have placed my Spirit in you that you may grow in Christ-likeness!
I love you and I want to transform you!
I am able; trust me!
As I babbled in my journal in the days preceding 1/1/15, I scribbled out some words that seemed like they might be good ideas, forgiveness making the top of the list. I really need to grow a lot in my understanding and practice of accepting and extending forgiveness. But there are also my struggles with my pride, and her vicious offspring others-judging and insecurity. Yeah, that's a huge wing of my thought-life-house that needs reconstruction unto righteousness. And finally, I thought a lot about my inability to let go of control of my time and take some risks, making space for ministry. I am so afraid to make commitments, because I don't know what the future holds.
What I wanted was a word that encompassed all of those things.
Lo and behold the Good Lord gave me a word, a simple 4-letter word. Heather, you're closed and this needs to be a year of being
because my Lord is always open for me.
If you have been around here for a while, you know how much I love words. So, of course, immediately after God gave me this word I looked it up. Open has lots of definitions! I am petrified about how the Lord might use this in my life, but so excited about how all-encompassing OPEN really is. Check it out:
- having no enclosing or containing barrier; accessible on nearly all sides
- being in a position or adjustment to permit passage; not shut or locked
- completely free from concealment: exposed to general view or knowledge
- exposed or vulnerable to attack or question
- not covered with a roof or lid
- having no protective covering
- not restricted to a particular group or category of participants
- available to follow or make use of, not taken up with duties or engagements
- characterized by ready accessibility and usually generous attitude (giving, responsive, and frank)
- having openings, interruptions, or spaces
- be in operation for business, patronage, or use
Can you see all the spiritual implications of those definitions? I see many, and they're wonderfully terrifying!
I have already felt the rub, friends, when I've started to grumble or complain, when the children want my attention and I don't want to give it, when my husband needs a hand and I'm busy with my own stuff, when a dear friend releases a book and I know I'm supposed to start a group even though I know how busy the semester is for my husband, and so on and so forth. Being open does not come naturally. I like my comfort, my space, my power over my minuscule domain.
For me this is the year of OPEN, and I want to invite you to do two things with me.
- Ask the Lord for a word, a nice open-ended word that you can focus on this year and allow God to use to transform you.
- Join me as I endeavor to blog weekly about how OPEN is influencing my life in 2015.
Please drop a note in the comments to let me know if you've got a theme word or plan for the year. I would love to pray for you!