Those of you that have walked some of my discipleship journey with me know that I am big on starting each year with a specific word from God to focus on throughout the year. My good and faithful God fulfills that request for me each year. As I have walked the years out with him, I have learned that he’s had a plan for my journey that I never imagined when I took an online bible teachers advise and asked for a random word that first year.
I had just moved Hannah and I out on our own in a two bedroom apartment in Morehead City and after having done life my way for thirty seven years and making a mess of it. I determined I was going to read the Bible all the way through as a guide to living before I did anything else. No reading any other book or watching tv at night until I read the whole thing cover to cover.
Three years before I had begun a relationship and dialogue with God through prayer, bible study and church sermons but I wanted to just figure out why I kept making a mess of my life. So when half way through the reading of the Bible the first time, I heard about this word for the year thing, I thought I’d give it a shot and see what happens. I asked God for my first word and he gave me “know”. Given my current endeavor, it seemed like a good word to start. So as I read and did subsequent studies throughout 2013, I wrote on index cards any verse I came across that had the word know or knowledge in it. This process helped me to learn who God is and who he created me to be. From there we went to worship (which was learning to love God), obey (because when you know and love God, you want to obey him), witness (which I thought was going to be about being a witness but took me on a journey through the gospels and Paul’s letters so their witness of Jesus and then ultimately at the end of the year to the Holy Spirit), abide (which turned out to be a strange wild ride of getting to know the Holy Spirit including leaving my comfortable Methodist services for some Pentecostal services in a variety of settings and what a ride that was and is) and lastly to Breathe (my Sabbath year – this year).
By just committing to focus on whatever word God gave me each year and where ever the Spirit led with that focus in mind, I can say that I know God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word and man I love them all. After this seven year process, I don’t know if God will give me a word for 2020. I kind of sense that he’s planning a new thing and it may not look like the old thing. If I’m honest I am anxious. But I have four months left to just breathe, to resist the urge to continue, to remember how far God has brought me, to take care of the gifts and people God has given me, and to remember who it’s really all about.