Consistency. Trust. Abundance. Wisdom.
Since 2013 I've chosen "one word" for the year.
Some years I do better than others writing on the topic and meditating on the word.
In February of 2013 I wrote "The Consistency of Being Inconsistent"...a lament on how quickly I'd fallen away from that year's word, "Consistency."
Yet in 2014 "Trust" was an anchor in a storm-filled year. I wrote about it often. Truly, trust was a God-given word.
Last December, I didn't write an introductory blog post to my word for the following year as I typically do. I mulled over several words and although I had an inkling of the direction God was leading me in, I wasn't positive which word was the one He had for me in 2017.
Although I didn't have a definitive word, God impressed on my heart a definitive need..."fill up your soul."
I pour myself out each day caring for others through my full-time job and He made it clear I needed to carve out time each month to purposefully refill my soul with time spent in His presence.
A number of months ago, I realized the word I had been leaning toward was in fact the word He had given me for the year.
I initially thought the word was given to me with regard to boundaries.
I can be a workaholic and a people-pleaser. I thought God just wanted me to guard against the encroachment of work-related needs and issues on my personal time.
What I never saw coming was my cancer diagnosis and on the same day, my homeless brother invading my life with a host of needs that threatened to consume all my time and challenge my sanity.
Long before I saw what was on the horizon, God communicated to me the need for emotional, physical and spiritual balance. He instructed me to fill up my soul to allow for distribution of the weightiness of need and hurt and pain with the weight-lifting experience of quiet and peace and joy.
As a result, I went on several mini-retreats, attended day-long seminars, and immersed myself in worship at concerts. I said "no" to activities in order to spend time alone in reflective quiet, and sought out wise counsel to work through the stresses of cancer and care-giving.
Solomon discusses the balance of life in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
"There is a time for everything and a time for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Life isn't perfect.
There are ups and downs.
An ebb and flow.
A time for everything.
This year has been a very different one, so I guess it's not so strange that I unveil it's one word at the end rather than the beginning.
I am grateful for all the times I was able to steal away to seek His face (Ps. 105:4)and find refuge under His wings (Ps. 91:4).
With 2018 just hours away, I find myself in the same place as last year-once again uncertain of which word He has for me; listening for what theme of meditation and encouragement He wants to provide for the days ahead.
Until He reveals it, working on balance is my game plan!
Do you have a "one word" God has revealed to you for 2018?
Blessings to each of you for a joyful and peace-filled new year.