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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

my one word and God-attribute for 2014

So I've actually had my 2014 one word and God characteristic for a couple weeks now...I just haven't written about it. Here's a shock- the big epiphany, the one with the angels descending from the sky to hand me the words to write for this post, DIDN'T. HAPPEN. I know! I suppose I just have to go on without them... 
Of course, while not. writing...I enjoyed reading different posts of 2014 words and how/why it's their theme for the year. I'm completely fascinated by the process one goes through for this, whether I know them or not. (My favorite so far has been Sarah Bessey's...which ironically enough, is about NOT having a word...but I easily identified, I have to say.) Surprisingly, my 2014 words actually came fairly easy to me this year, which is ever-so-lovely compared to the heart-drama of last year. And like my 2014 resolutions, God seems to be continuing the theme of revisiting and remembering, and not so much into jumping into the brand-new. I'm so very intrigued by this, I must say. 
(I was totally Linky McLinkerston in that paragraph. You're welcome.) 


Delight.
de·light:  greatly please. Take great pleasure in, or something that causes it.
please: make someone feel happy and satisfied
pleased: feeling or showing pleasure and satisfaction
pleasure: feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment
satisfactionfulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this
  
Delight is my word for 2014. It is actually a word that subtly, but continually, popped up throughout 2013…in songs, books I was reading, and over and over and over in scriptures I was studying. I had no idea God was such a fan of this particular word. It stuck out every time I came across it...but in those, back-of-your-mind-not-really-paying-full-attention-kind-of-ways. I would ask God what it really meant. What did it really mean to truly delight in Him, or to delight in His Word, etc? But, I never really stopped to listen for an actual answer. So when God told me this was my word for 2014...I was, well... delighted. And ohmygoodness, with the heaviness that has hung over me these last years...I'm so exhaustively grateful for this breath of fresh air. And something tells me there is great depth to the gem of delighting…and I think there will be much joy in the journey of finding its treasure.


Father. 
     Abba. 
        Avinu. 
Father is my 2014 God-attribute. This is definitely not a new concept for me, but I have to admit...it is one I've let slip by the wayside…replaced by new, different, hidden…exciting…discoveries of who God is. Growing up in Dysfunction-Junction, this is an aspect of God that I've held closest to my heart for as early as I can remember. But I think, subconsciously, I was feeling too grown-up for it. Too mature. Like I had somehow grown past it, because I wasn't that broken little girl anymore. But I cherish the fact God whispered this characteristic. And I think there’s a several aspects and purposes in this. The obvious one being~ don't forget the existence of those vital stones, just because they're deeply hidden in your foundation... because there is still more truth to be found in them.

I’m so deeply intrigued by what this new, yet so familiar, journey shall hold in 2014. And I’m extremely curious as to what everyone else’s themes are too. So please let me know! And if you’ve written (or will write) about it…please link up so I can be a part of your journey as well!  

///

And oooooooh my goodness…do you not just LOVE this song? Like, love-love. Like, have it on repeat for hours, if not days at a time-love. Like, can’t possibly ever get the sound loud enough from the speakers-love. Like, your spirit and soul want to explode into an array of fireworks every. single. time. you hear it-love. Like, really. Love, love, love, love, love it. Love. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

the resolutions of 2014


Ok, so I’m really trying to get back into the groove of blogging. So just humor me if I make some rambling, pointless posts. Cause it’s all about just. doing. it. Just. freaking. write. Right? Bleh. I'm already annoyed that this little blah blah blah nuthin post has taken me 5 days to put together. ri-dic-u-lous. But...Imma just keep going. Plus, I know....KNOOOOoooOOOOW, the blog world is just dying to know my 2014 resolutions. AND...they say it's important to write these things down...to make them truly official, and Habakkuk-approved... and such as.
So, I guess, here we go- My 2014 Resolutions:

1- First and foremost: to continue the pattern of quiet times I established in 2013. Oy. Let’s be honest, can I just say that I hate that phrase quiet times. Can we please come up with something better? I mean, really. Maybe this is actually the first resolution of the new year…to replace the phrase ‘quiet time’ with something that doesn’t make us all secretly cringe. Or am I the only one who does? "Quiet times"??? Who came up with that phrase anyways? And why has it stuck? Everyone get busy on finding a better phrase and report back. Surely we can do better, can’t we? Oy. But as I was saying……
So I actually kinda got it together in my ‘quiet time world’ in 2013…and I definitely want to keep on this path. And I don’t want to just maintain what I have. I want to do more, go deeper, get up earlier (oy, what?), hang out longer, dig more, listen more, journal more, et cetera...et cetera...et cetera. While it has been quite the lovely start...I want/need more.

2- Prayer time. I love prayer. Always. I’ve labeled myself a praying girl. I went to a YWAM school that specifically focused on worship and prayer. I’ve taught on prayer. I’m a hard core believer that there should be more prayer happening and it drives me batty that we don't engage in this more, as a whole. HOWEVER…I came to the conclusion in 2013, that my personal prayer life sucks...and there’s something very key I’m missing and I've got to get it figured out. It is SO not where it’s supposed to be. HOPEFULLY (Lord, have mercy) I’m going to write more about this in a future post.

3- Be more creative. Ok, so I’m created in the image of a creative God, so I must be creative, right? Of course, right. And I actually am a more right-brained kind of girl, so creativity should come much easier than it does. So I don't get why it can be such a struggle. The desire is definitely there, at every moment of every day, honestly. Ideas are constantly floating about. But it's the doing it, in the way that's in my head, that I can't seem to ever pull off. And God has been telling me to be more active in my creativity for several years now, and I had made good progress, but...I feel like it was something that was stolen a little bit last year….so I’m determined to get it back in this one. Intentional Creativity in 2014. Who’s coming over with their paints and glue gun?And a guitar? We always need someone with a guitar. 

4- To love more. For real. Those quintessential verses... the ones that sums up the entire Bible... the very essence of the heart of God... the description of what we were put on this earth to do: To love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And to love our neighbors as ourselves. Again, this could become several more blog posts. Because this certainly is not what the world sees when they look at the church. And this breaks my heart open, into all. the. pieces. I spent several days shedding tears because of that damn duck controversy, and this became my heart's cry. And as much as I want the church, as a whole, to really get this down to the fiber of our being, it starts with the individuals, doesn't it? So *I* want to be known by this, through and through. I want this to be the very essence of what I live and breathe. That I am a passionate lover of a God who accepts me right where I'm at...and because of that, I'm a passionate lover of my neighbors, right where they're at. I need grace to ooze from my pores. I want to draw people closer to Him, not be an obstacle that pushes them further away. So I'm asking God for new and greater revelation regarding these verses...and how to truly walk them out. 

5- Blog more. Because, well, …………duh.

6- Read more. Again, I went through a shlumpy phase and only stared at the piles of books around my house, but never cracking any open. In the last 4ish months, I began to rediscover my love for reading, and I’ve actually made a dent in the pile of books on my night stand. So, I was all gung-ho and set a completely unreasonable reading goal for 2014. Course, I have since realized I was crazy…and have significantly reduced said goal to a much more (hopefully) obtainable one. 

7- To remember. I’m not quite sure how to explain this. But a couple of weeks ago…I started hearing the whispers. The whispers and reminders of a very specific season past and of tiny little moments with God that I had forgotten. And God keeps telling me to remember. So I'm consciously trying. And I think there's a lot He wants to (re)show me. 


So this is what I like about my list…it isn’t just a brand new list of wannabees in my life. It’s actually concepts that in 2013 were seeds that were established and slowly started growing. I want to be intentional about continuing to water and nurture the seeds, so they grow with big, giant, taking-over, kind of roots... deep down into the inner recesses of my soul and become established in my heart for all eternity. That’s not really too much to ask, is it? I didn't think so. 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

a one-word invitation

I’m a girl who has a deep love affair with symbolism. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this multiple times before, but it’s worth mentioning again, I suppose. My home is filled with items that seem like mere decorations, but actually have deep meaning behind them. I’m a lover of prophetic statements and actions through and through. I love the changing of seasons, both spiritually and physically. And I love those marks in time that give you a do-over and a new start…especially New Years.

And for the past several years I have loved, LO-VED, the concept of adopting a single word for your personal theme of the upcoming year. I mean like, LOooOOved this concept. And if you’ve been reading my blog…not only do I choose a single word, but I also choose a characteristic of God to focus on. This has really been my favoritest concept ever…and I’d always look forward to it, every aspect of it. I love the time spent in prayer asking God and listening patiently for direction. I loved talking these concepts through with friends and hearing why they chose the words they did. I loved the hope and expectancy that was stirred up for the next year. And I loved the revelation that would unfold throughout the year as you focused on what God asked you to focus on.  Like, I really, really loved every aspect of it.

Until 2013 was approaching. And the end of the year was bearing down on me, with all its meanings and symbolism and waving banners and flashing neon lights.

Last year, at this time, I was a hot mess of crazy.

I tried to avoid anything and everything about 2012 ending and a new one beginning. I ignored social media as much as possible….definitely skimming over any post that might have had to do with theme words and revolutions. I did my best to avoid any mention of the ‘one word’ concept to anyone…and I begged God to not let anyone bring it up around me. I steered conversations in different directions, and tried to hide the inner panic attacks, if it seemed like the subject was about to be broached.

I was purposefully in bed before midnight on the 31st, covers pulled over my head, willing myself to sleep so I could successfully ignore the changing of seasons that was going to happen and I was ticked that I was powerless to stop it.

Let’s just say…2012 was a dang hard year. It didn’t matter what my theme-words were for that year…other words ominously moved in and took over. DISAPPOINTMENT and DOUBT were painted in dark, dripping letters, hanging over my life like Eeyore’s cloud. Disappointment was certainly not a new concept to me, as with anyone, really. But 2012 held such extreme disappointments for deep-hearted promises and expectations, that I couldn’t face the thought of another year. Doubt had erased all traces of faith and hope that would have believed things would be better. I couldn’t even bring myself to let go of the crap year and get excited about a new beginning and do-over, like I’d done with other not-so-great-years in the past. The wounds were just too deep. I reluctantly dragged myself over the threshold of 2013, purely because there was just no choice in the matter.  

I ended 2012 completely and totally doubting I could hear God’s voice, that He saw me, or even remembered I existed, for that matter. I didn’t doubt His character and promises in general, I just came to the conclusion that they were true for everyone else except me. But I am far too attached to ever walk away from Him or my faith, in general…so it wasn’t like I was giving up. The very fiber of my being is that of a lovesick worshiper, because He is worthy, regardless of my feelings or circumstances. So I still worshiped...and talked/prayed to Him...I just didn’t think He was listening, and I certainly didn’t think He was talking back.

I wrote about this some at the beginning of this year…with the intention to write more…but words have failed me more than ever this year. Maybe I still will….

So in February/Marchish, in a desperate attempt to pull myself out of a deeply dark hole…I did a 21 day visual fast- to try to get some re-focused vision. No social media, no tv, movies, electronic games, computer only for work, etc. And during these 21 days, I filled myself and my home with as much “spirituality” as possible. I played worship 24/7 from one device. I played the audio Bible constantly from another device. I listened to different preachers and teachers, and I read through my favorite passages in the Bible…trying anything and everything to revive a crushed and withered spirit.
And it worked. Only a little, really. But it did work. And the arduous journey out of the wilderness began.

And even though I was avoiding every thought about a 2013 word, and had successfully done so for 2-3 months…in the midst of that fast….God whispered one anyways.

*sigh* It’s just like Him, isn’t it?

I tried to ignore it. I rolled my eyes when I heard it. I thought it was kinda mean because the word pretty much summed up this battle of which I was in, and I was fairly convinced there were no answers. Plus, it’s a word that I personally really like, and I hated the thought of it being tarnished.

But God whispered this one word…and I knew…even in the pain, even in the attempt to ignore…that it was supposed to be “the” word for 2013….and I scribbled it on a sticky note, stuck it to my computer screen, and walked out of the room, wanting to get away from it, debating whether or not to take the path of denial….or the new path that was suddenly opened.

He had whispered….Know.

When it was spoken, there was an inner soothing that happened at the sound of His voice…but fear also immediately invaded and threatened to choke it out. Know? THAT was the whole problem. I DIDN’T know. I didn’t know squat. About life, about God, about hearing his voice, about promises, about what I was supposed to do…about any-thing. To say the word for 2013 was ‘know’ seemed like it was really just setting up a comfy, cozy place for Disappointment and Doubt to settle in with deeper roots and continue to have their way with my soul and spirit. It seemed utterly ridiculous. Besides, I didn’t even know if I was really hearing His voice anyways. So why should I torment myself with my own made up nonsense?

“How, God. How the heck am I supposed to KNOW?” I thought, in the midst of so many crazy, rambling thoughts.

“Seek”, was the response.

And suddenly, things seemed different. I knew an invitation had been extended, one that had been given many times throughout my life, and I’m sure will be given many more. But there was just something about this specific invitation. Something deeply sacred and private. And underneath the layer of doubt and disappointment, in the foundation that was still very much there, I knew there was safety in this invitation...and a tiny spark of trust was reignited. And if you looked close enough, you could see an even tinier spark of hope.

I’ll be honest, I spent several days debating whether or not I was going to embrace it or run far from it. But I finally made the right choice. I released all expectations…for the good and the bad. Even in the net of safety I knew was there, I proceeded with cautious trepidation. I let go of all expectation of answers, or hearing, or promises, both immediate and future...and just went with it.  

And 2013 has still held its share of disappointments. And doubt hasn’t been fully erased. And so many, many, many questions still continue to hang over my life….

But…

In the midst of it, 2013 has been, well, I don't really know how to describe it actually, but maybe the word is ...levelling. And for that, I’m far more grateful than words could ever possibly express. I can't say there's really been much revelation or epiphany's. There's still a deep ache for the promises still unfilled. I still question what the heck I'm doing in this world. But that sticky note is still right where I haphazardly stuck it. Every time I walk past it or sit down in front of it, a deep inner sigh happens…and I remember that symbolic marking point...when the winds seemed to shift.

So in saying all this….I’m actually looking forward to this change of seasons once again and for this new year just moments away. I’m busy seeking God for 2014’s word and which of His characteristics He wants me to focus on. I’ve been working on getting things around me cleaned up and organized…and reflecting on which resolutions or goals should be put on paper.  

Ok, so who's with me? Do you have your word and characteristic for 2014 yet? Please come and share when you know them...even if it's months down the road! Really. And I’d actually love to know your 2013 words, since I never asked (uummm...ya, sorry about that)…and anything you learned because of them. 

Let's raise our glasses to 2014. May it be kind, graceful, and joyous to us...and above all, may we learn to love Him even more. ♥