I've always loved the idea of new beginnings - I think that's how we're wired. New days, weeks, months, years hold much appeal; so many opportunities to wipe the (grimy, filthy, disappointment-stained, failure-covered) slate clean and start fresh.
I gave up making New Year's resolutions long ago - it was just too discouraging, falling short year after year after year...But I can't resist the lure of the mother of new beginnings. In more recent years, I've been drawn to the notion of a word - a single word to help focus the fresh start to come.
I'm the first to admit that I have a terrible memory - but if it serves me correctly (no guarantee), my word for 2014 was "thanks" and my 2015 word was "overcomer" (which apparently is not technically a word). As crazy as those two years were, the words were useful in defining my focus (when I could remember them :) ).
And now...the moment you've all been waiting for...drum roll, please...
My word for 2016 is..."ALL".
I played around with a few different ideas as I considered my focus for the year - like "trust", "faith" and "surrender". But none of those were broad enough to encompass everything I wanted to include. What's more all-encompassing than "all"? :D
So here's what I mean. As I thought about what I want my life to look like, I realized (not for the first time) that there are many areas that I haven't surrendered - places where I just want to do my own thing - with no heavenly interference, thank-you-very-much. I used to think that to surrender my life to God meant giving up a lot of things, keeping my feet on the "straight and narrow", and being a missionary in Africa.
I was afraid to surrender completely. So I just didn't.
The thing is, the more I get to know who God really is, the less scary the idea of surrender becomes. He doesn't want to steal my joy, He wants to BE my joy! Instead of a tyrannical, hostile take-over, God invites me gently into His best, into His peace that passes understanding, into His love that knows no limits.
This is a lot harder to explain than I thought...it makes so much sense in my head :) Here are the two verses that inspired my word:
This year, I want to consciously, deliberately, submit myself to my God. I want to respond to His loving invitation with intentional, joyful discipline - to do all of life with Him, to be empowered by His spirit and filled with His joy. To embark upon an unknown adventure tale; a small but significant character in His grand and glorious story!
Happy New Year, dear friends! May you know and experience God's presence and peace and power in new and exciting ways as you journey along your own particular paths this year!
What's your word (or verse, or resolution or whatever...) for 2016?