Every year about this time I start peering into the future and pondering what God sees in me that needs some adjusting. Often, as I pray, a word or group of words rises to the top and becomes the focus of my thoughts.
Then I look back over the past year and what God has already done.
2010, by all accounts, was a difficult year. We were sick a lot and so was our checkbook. But the word God kept bringing to mind helped me focus on what really matters. Every time God reminded me of our 2009 Christmas reminiscing, peace seeped in and He empowered me to live this word and make better choices than in years past. The word was LOVE.
When God first whispered that word, I thought He was going to teach me more about His love and how to love others better. What happened instead were many opportunities to see how frail and fallible human love is: both in giving and receiving.
What also unfolded last year was learning to appreciate evidences of God’s perfect love in the small imperfect expressions that are often overlooked: a silly card handwritten backwards by a beginning writer, a series of “just one more” hugs as I’m running out the door, a quiet hour of dreaming about the future with my husband.
This year God whispered a word for 2011 early: CONTENTMENT. And He has already begun opening my eyes to how vital this word is.
We’ve been sick since October with one thing after another. We've been injured more this year than any other. And we've tightened the belt on spending, even during the holiday season. No vacations. No big expenses unless we had earned extra dollars.
It wasn't fun at all.
During one very sleepless, sick, and frustrating week, I was unleashing my inner two year old on God and begging Him for health and other various, self-centered requests. God simply said, "Contentment."
I can’t say I was thrilled. In fact, I got even more two year oldish for a while.
But then I started looking at the circumstances through His eyes…
Every bump and bruise in life is an opportunity to depend on God more...
To listen deeper...
To grow wiser...
To trust more...
To be thankful, even when life hurts.
Every time God and I did the two year old versus contentment dance, I came out with a bruised ego and a bigger heart.
I caught a glimpse of how much better life can be with my hand in God's instead of my foot stomping.
I have no doubt God is just getting started teaching me about contentment. But for the first time, I'm beginning a new year excited about what God is up to because I've already seen Him at work.
Two thousand eleven is already looking better and better.
What about you? What has God taught you in 2010? What might He be teaching you in 2011? There's so much focus and strength... even excitement summed up in a word that God whispers to your heart.
So what is God saying to you? What's your word for 2011?