January, can you believe it is so quickly here again? A time of resolutions and new beginnings.
Choosing a word to focus on for the year has become something that many do instead of making a resolution. Being a writer, this idea has always appealed to me; alas, I can never choose just one word!
This past August, God gave me a word. It was on my mind constantly, it met me at every turn, like running into a glass wall. I could not escape this word and it was not one I would have chosen on my own. But, when God gives you a word, there is no denying it.
Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am fiercely independent, some might even call me stubborn (wink, wink to that person(s) - you know who you are). I prefer the word tenacious over stubborn. Once upon a time, my great-uncle gave me the name 'Little Miss. Independence' and my motto when faced with thyroid cancer was never give up, never give in, never admit defeat. Perhaps it is handed down through my ancestors. My great-grandmother was an Elliott, and their motto is "With Strength and Right", the clan crest is a raised fist holding a sword. All of this did not make me favorably disposed to the word the Lord placed on my heart: SURRENDER.
What had I not surrendered to God? What was I holding back? Searching the scriptures revealed interesting truths, not the least of which was the point in Jeremiah where he prophesied that if the people of Jerusalem would surrender to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, they would survive, but if not, they would die. There are times when surrender to the enemy is in God's plan. As is usually the case in my own life, it was disobedience that had brought the nation of Israel to this point, but God provided a way out as He always does.
After more prayer and reading of the word, the still small voice of the Spirit convicted me of all that I needed to surrender to Him: thoughts, actions, what I read, what I watch, were I go, regrets, bad decisions, worries that have no place in my mind. Let it go, He said, give it to Me.
Then, wonder of wonders, He sent me another word in October! Not only does this word thing not have to occur in January, but it may occur multiple times in a year! The next word: ABIDE. I am liking this word a whole lot because I want to abide with my Lord. But do you know what? I should also want to surrender and to truly abide - I must fully surrender. I am still working on that but every day He changes we a little more and a little more to look like His son.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4