December 2, 2013

One Word 2013 and 2014...and God's Dreams for Us

It's now December. Time to think about the season, Jesus' birth and all that means, gifts, family, and more. And it's time to reflect back on the last 11 months.

Last year about this time, I chose a word.

I determined to focus on this one word throughout the year. It was the first year I'd done this and I wasn't sure what to expect. Would I really be able to do it? Would I forget about the word come March or April?

But as the months wore on, I found myself clinging to the word. Claiming it as a promise. Thinking on the command evident in it.

The word was "REJOICE" and the verse to go with it was Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice!"

And when I look back on 2013, I can see so many things worth rejoicing over:
  • Being able to attend two writing retreats and one professional writing conference.
  • Spending time with good friends.
  • Taking a week-long beach vacation with my husband.
  • Signing with a LITERARY AGENT! (I announced this amazing news last week on Facebook: I am signing with Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management.)
But the thing is...we are told to rejoice not just in the good times, but in the bad as well. In the difficult and the trying times. God continually brought my One Word to my mind throughout times like these in 2013. He reminded me that He had brought all of the good stuff to pass...and that He was allowing the bad stuff for a reason too.

This year has been an amazing one, but not just because of amazing things happening. It's also been a year of growth for me. Of wandering and wondering. Of waiting. And for an impatient girl like me, waiting is the worst.

But it's also the best. Because it's in the waiting and the questioning and the comparison and the doubt that God does something awesome.

He reminds us that His dreams for us are SO MUCH BIGGER than our own dreams for us.

His timing is not our timing...it's BETTER THAN our timing.

The mountain highs are that much higher when you've been stranded -- or felt stranded, anyway -- in the low valley.

And the thing is...I know He's only just begun to work in my heart, to bring me to an understanding of who He is and why He does what He does. I'll always be on that journey, but I want to be as purposeful as I can be in walking it.

That's why my One Word for 2014 is "LEAN." 

As in, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When I feel faint, I want to lean into the Lord. When I wonder where He's leading me, I want to lean on his understanding, not my own. When I am tempted to sway one way or the other, I want leaning in his direction to be my first instinct.

Oh Lord, may it be so!

Your Turn: What did you learn in 2013? If you chose a One Word for 2013, what was it and how did God use it in your life? Do you have a word for 2014 yet?

*Given the busyness of the holidays, I'll be taking the rest of December off from blogging. I'll see you back here in January! Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.

*Jeanne Takenaka is the winner of Amy Matayo's giveaway for The Wedding Game. Yay, Jeanne!