Each year, usually in December, I write a blog post encouraging you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you a word for the upcoming year. Not a phrase, not a statement, just one word — a word to serve as your lens to better see and interpret how He is moving in your life.
This is a discipline I picked up from Dan Britton, the Executive Vice President of Ministry Programs at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I’ve chosen one word each year since 2006, but this year, I decided to skip it.
I’m pretty far from God right now. I’m clinically depressed, and my beliefs have gotten disconnected from my behavior.
I’m not doubting or questioning anything about Christ, I’m just not moving forward with Him. I’m mired in emotional and spiritual temper tantrums. So, in spite, I decided not to pick a word for 2011 and not to write a post … until God sent me an e-mail, via a co-worker.
My co-worker, Patrick, told me about the word he’d chosen for 2010 and the experience he had relating to God with the word in the forefront of his mind.
To me, that was God saying,
“I’m here. I care. Let me show you something.”
I felt convicted … and selfish, because the discipline of choosing one word as a theme for the year isn’t about me and how I’m feeling. It’s about Jesus. And it’s about each of our relationships with Him.
Patrick says that choosing one word for 2010 was “one of the best things [he] decided to do with [his] life up to this point.” And I usually say the same thing, except the words the Lord has given me NEVER play out like I expect them to.
Last year, my word was shine, and I was excited about it, particularly since the previous year my word was growth.
One word sounds painful and difficult, while the other word suggests promise and harvest. But the truth is, the words are similar to one another. They’re not gifts, they’re complex calls to action.
The words the Holy Spirit shares with us require us to “step up.” This discipline is not something to do on a lark because it sounds fun. It requires a commitment. It’s something that requires you to lean into the Lord and to step up and assume responsibility for the talents He has given you. I did not do that in 2010.
I sat back and waited for my harvest. And I did experience a harvest in many ways. The most significant being the birth of my first daughter, Cara (Beloved). But with the harvest comes work and for me to truly shine I need to step up and keep stepping up.
The words we get now are the foundation for the words we get in the future; they rest atop one another, strengthening our faith, defining our walk with Jesus and serving as snapshots of points in our lives.
For me, my brief walk with Jesus has been upon these words.
And now, Closer.
What is your word for 2011?
- Read Dan’s document, One Word, for suggestions that will help you with this spiritual discipline.