A New Year, A New Word

It’s hard to believe but 2017 is about to end. 365 days that have been good, great, sad or bad culminate in a countdown breathlessly screamed out. What is it about the end of one year and the start of another?

It’s the clean slate idea. All that happened in these last 365 days is over and done. As the new year comes upon us all, we all have the chance to be different. This is the year of (insert declaration here)!

Then the list of resolutions begin to accumulate. This year I will do this instead of that. In years past I too made a list of resolutions. A list I would soon forget or walk away from altogether.

About five years ago I discovered One Word 365 while reading through my favorite blogs. The concept appealed to me, choose a word in which to live through as a lens for the next year. That’s it. Nothing else is required but to meditate, lean into and grow into this word.

Sounds weird right?

I mean we’ve been conditioned to make those lists! And that you can only do this at the start of the new year. Lies! By focusing on a word for the year, I find I’m more apt to accomplish goals. That as I lean into the word, it’s meaning only begins to evolve and expand.

I hadn’t given much thought to my word for 2018. In fact I completely forgot about it. Life had become busy with work and preparing to move. Until that is ,I began to journal the other night. Then there it was, written several times over in my entry. My word for 2018 had chosen me.

The word that repeated itself was Hope.

Hope

HOPE

HOPE

HOPE

Hope in the impossible, hope in good, hope in love, hope in all circumstances. Because I confess I have lacked hope at times. Because I don’t always trust what can happen. I’ve even stopped hoping for certain things because it’s too painful. Hoping means caring and caring means there is disappointment.

I have at times pushed aside the true hope I have in Christ. Because the lie(s) know how to whisper to me in just the right ways. I have chosen to not hope because it hurts. When what is hoped for doesn’t come to fruition, it leaves me bruised and untrusting.

Outside of myself, there is much need for Hope throughout the world. Hope that only Christ can deliver. If one is willing to believe that good can come from trial.

I don’t think this will be an easy word to lean into. I long to walk through the beckoning doorway to have a greater understanding of Hope.

2018 is the year of HOPE.

The Inconvience Factor

Inconviences can suck. They steal away time and chip away at my comfort. I had an afternoon of inconviences, so many little things piled onto each other that at one point some unholy words emerged from my mouth. What I wanted was kept out of reach for me and I did not like it. Often times I can become upset with things and most often it is not for any other reason than that I am not getting what I want at that moment.

It can bring the worst out of me. But I have learned the most from being inconvienced in my life. Even that day where it felt as if ALL the things went wrong. In some ways they did, and in other ways they went right. I had to remind myself that what I was dealing with was temporary.

But sometimes the inconviences do have long lasting effects. Some are good as I have learned and been challenged in my life. Learning from these kinds of moments has lead to the biggest breakthroughs for me. By asking myself the questions behind why am I so upset? Why is it so important for this to happen now?

Sometimes I know what that answer is, and other times it takes some digging to reveal it. Following Jesus is full of inconviences. I have been stretched to reach past what I know and go into the unknown. I remember the first time I was asked to lead a Bible study, it was scary. Being responsible for helping others follow Jesus when one isn’t 100% confident is difficult.

Leading a group can be inconvenient as anything. It means setting aside time to study up for the week, follow up with group members and spending time conveying information to them. Caring for people is inconvenient isn’t it though? It means having to stop what you had planned to do in order to care for them.

Jesus isn’t about convenience, following him doesn’t fall into a neat slot on the schedule. The lessons that stemmed from being inconvenienced have helped me to grow in my faith. Molding me into the person I am today and the person I will be ten years from now.

Life if full of inconveniences, varying in degrees. Some are small such as I experienced on that day. Others are larger, which I have also experienced in my life. They have made me slow down in the moment and think about what is happening behind it all. It’s not the inconveniences that matter themselves, but what I can learn from them. To look at them as opportunites rather than not.