“You can do anything for one year,” that’s what my grandma [Gma, as I refer to her] told me, at least. Anything for one year. Anything. One year. If Gma were alive today, she might think I was crazy for what I’m about to do, but I would simply remind her of those bold seven words, that she had engrained in me, once upon a time. And all the adventures that were soon to follow.
For the past 5 years, I’ve joined a trend called My One Word. A book now authored by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, is a movement created 7 years ago to help people focus on change by focusing on one word. Instead of creating a list of New Year’s resolutions to resolve an issue you want to get rid of, choose one word that you would like to become more like.
I spent two and a half years living in intentional Christian community, and one of my housemates during my first year introduced me to this, and it has changed my life ever since. Looking back into the previous year (at that time), 2011, I could see God working in me towards trusting him more. So even before I knew “My One Word” existed, I was living it. And since then, it has only made sense to continue in those footsteps.
My words, for the past 6 years, go as follows:
I have shared this movement with many of my friends and family over time, and have encouraged them to pick a word as well. Throughout the year, instead of being disappointed by failed resolutions, we ask each other how we see God using our word to change us and to reveal Himself to us. Towards the end of each year, we check to see if we’ve yet discerned what our next year’s word should be. Most years, I don’t figure out my word until last-minute December, but this year, it hit me in about October. I had a very strong sense that my 2017 word would be risk.
I wasn’t sure at the time, how that word would play out, but I knew that in subtext, it would include a leap of faith… or several. Slowly, but surely, God has been offering me several risks to take that will lead into a deeper, and more personal relationship with Him. I feel like in a sense, this seventh word and seventh year is a culmination of all the previous six words and years.
I have this desire to risk it all for my Lord. Jesus has literally risked everything for me, so why can’t I give up these things, these distractions that have been holding me back from deepening my relationship with Him. God risked it all for me, and now I want to risk it all for Him.
How does this play out? After listing many of the distractions I use for comfort, instead of seeking my Lord, I’ve realized I could match each of them with the seven deadly sins. Though I only knew about three of them, at the time – gluttony, greed and lust – after researching them, I can now see how my struggles pair up with each sin. Like every misguided little thing about me is falling into place.
So here’s what I want to do, what I feel called to do. I want to risk giving up my seven deadly sins for one year. I want to risk all the things I think I need, for what God has planned for me. I don’t want this new wine, that is Christ Jesus, to have to try and survive in the old wineskins, I’ve been trying to hold it in for all these years. I want to finally give up the old self, so that I’m free and welcoming to the new creation that God has been so patiently waiting to mold me into. It’s not going to be easy, but I can already feel that it is going to be so worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, risk doesn’t just mean surrendering. It also means delighting. As many of you know, I adore writing. If I knew I could stably live as a writer, I would switch careers in a heartbeat! It’s that one thing I would do, if I knew I could not fail. Surrendering my sins will not only allow me more time with my Lord, it will also allow me an opportunity to write. This time it won’t just be blog posts that I’m typing up, but also one of my longest dreams to date – a book, my book.
While messaging a couple different friends last week, God revealed some key things to me about who I am and who He created me to be. The first friend, we’ll call her Kindness, was hoping set me up with someone else she knew. Thoughtful as it was, it left me realizing that, though I talk big about men and dating, I’m not actually interested in being in a relationship currently. When I’m not comparing myself to others, I realized that me, in the depth of my being, loves being single! I love the peace I feel when I don’t have any current crushes and I love that I can wholeheartedly follow the call of God, wherever it takes me.
This past year, though it had its many struggles, I’ve so enjoyed seeking the Lord. Seeking His providence, mercy, peace and protection. When I came to this conclusion, I declined the blind date. Shortly after, I was filled with another wave of revelation. This one lead to texting one of my oldest friends, we’ll call her Diligence. Diligence got married when she was twenty and now, at the ripe age of nearly thirty, has three amazing kiddos and an ever-loving husband.
For many years she has shared with me, how blessed I am to be single – and have all this time to seek God. For many of those years, I took it offensively, because I was insecure about ever meeting my someone special. But in that moment, after thankfully declining a blind date, I realized the true meaning of her encouragement. Singleness is indeed a blessing! When I stop focusing on what I think I should have or even what I think I want, and truly seek God, I realize that He has always provided me with what I’ve needed, and He always will. Though I do enjoy the presence of the fellas in my life, I need not a romance with them, but a deeper fellowship with my Lord. This, in turn, will create deeper connections with everyone I meet.
So I thanked Diligence, and apologized for my defensiveness throughout the years. She in turn, told me that she envied the time that I get to spend seeking the Lord, and how grateful she is to experience the insight and wisdom I gain through seeking Him. This is when God switched on the light, and it hit me. Though I may be busy with volunteer commitments, serving and being a good friend, I can easily take “me” time to be in the uninterrupted presence of the Lord, whereas “quiet time” is a rarity for a mother of three.
What if the insight and wisdom I learn, through seeking the Lord, isn’t just beneficial to me, but also to those I share it with? What if I take this year, to seek God distraction and comfort-free, and write about it, so not only I am able to enjoy the fruits, but also those who don’t have the luxury of free time? What if I risk it all, and spend 365 days in the presence of the Lord? What if?
This year, 2017, I am trusting that God will provide everything I need, even though I am surrendering many of my comforts. I will take delight in all the time I get to spend in His presence and will take it as an opportunity to write my first-ever book. I will care for all my readers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, by sharing every bit of knowledge I learn while seeking God. I am risking my all, for my Heavenly Father who already risked it all for me. I hope that you will be as blessed by this journey as I will be.