Living With Intention
2018. It’s going to be an intentional year for goals. Last year, I had a few goals, and I accomplished some of them, and others I failed at miserably. This year, I have more tools to help me be intentional, but more than that, I feel like I can really do this this year. Maybe it’s because of the success I had last year, and maybe it’s because I feel more confident that the goals I have this year are goals that the Lord has led me to focus on, but either way, I feel confident as we have moved into 2018 (let’s check in and see how I’m doing in March, mmmkay?)
One area of my life that I’m focusing on this year is to be in the Word of God more diligently than ever before, and to record, and share, what He is teaching me through His Word. I’m using the 2018 Powersheets from CultivateWhatMatters.com to help me with my goals. If you haven’t used them before, they are a great tool to help you uncover and focus on what really matters to you. So many of us choose resolutions or goals based on what social media or commercialism tells us to focus on. We need to be skinnier, we need to eat healthy, we need to work out more… and while these are not bad goals in and of themselves, if they aren’t really what matters to you, then you are likely to fail at them, and then feel like a failure because you failed. In the Powersheets prep work, you choose a word of the year to focus on. This is a fairly trendy New Year’s intention right now, but I’ve never really made a specific word a focus for myself before. The couple of times I have tried, I’ve forgotten what the word is by February. This year feels different. And so, as I uncovered my goals and intentions for 2018, reflected on 2017, and prayed about what my word of the year should be, the Lord kept whispering one word to me: TRUST.
I’ll be honest. Trust WAS NOT the word I wanted for 2018. 2017 was not a great year in my life for trust. Trust is hard. Trust gets messy. Trust involves holding on, holding up and letting go. Trust means speaking out and trust means listening and leaning in…HARD. When I think about trust in the context of 2017, it’s not pretty. 2017 taught me that people aren’t trustworthy. It taught me that people who are your friends will say one thing and do another. It taught me that my words cannot be entrusted to others to be honored with life-giving intention, but instead they will be taken as barbs or jabs. 2017 taught me that trusting others with vulnerability will only hurt me more. 2017 was a hard year in many ways.
So you can see why I wasn’t very excited to have my word be TRUST for 2018. But as I sat with it, as I looked up some definitions and reflected on other things 2017 taught me, the Lord brought to mind the good that I learned about trust in 2017. 2017 also taught me to trust in letting some things go, because like a flower in the palm of a small child, it’s actually me holding on too tightly that crushes the very thing I want to hold onto. 2017 taught me that I can trust in my abilities and skills and in my own words and my own voice, that I am good at what I do, and it’s ok to trust that. Not because I’m so cool or amazing, but because He is good and amazing, and it’s Him who gave me these skills and words and voice. He is doing a deeper work in me, and encouraging me to use my skills and words and voice for His glory, instead of continuing to doubt and silence myself (something I’m notoriously good at doing). 2017 also taught me a deeper level of trust in my husband and my children, in the way we handle things as a family and how we move forward together.
Why TRUST is right, right now
As I processed and reflected, I knew that TRUST is the right word for 2018. My teenagers are becoming young adults, and I am challenged nearly everyday to let them go ahead into adult life. This season of life requires a whole new level of trust in both God and my children. My husband and I are embarking on new adventures with ministry and music and jobs, and I am being challenged to trust his wisdom more than ever before, as we work together as a team in ways that are new, and as we discover the path ahead for us in ministry. The Lord is also leading me to write more and share more this year. As I do so, I am challenged to trust that you, readers, will hold my words in trust with the positive intention with which they are delivered, even if you feel them personally. I am also challenged to trust more in the Lord, that He will continue to teach me, grow me, and use my words to encourage and challenge you. And finally, I am challenged to trust myself through this process, to trust myself not to silence my own voice, and to have confidence in what the Lord is doing in me and through me.
All of these challenges also require me to trust that the Lord is still healing me from all those yucky parts of 2017, that He still has a plan for my life, even when I have felt like a failure over the last year… in goals, relationships, ministry, and especially when it comes to trust.
Learning to live like Mary
My time in the Word this year so far has me reading a little of the Old and New Testaments each day. At the beginning of Genesis and the beginning of Luke, I’m struck at the difference between two women, Eve and Mary. Eve, the mother of all mankind, is tempted by the serpent when he leads her to doubt what God said. She did not trust the Lord’s word to Adam. Mary, the mother of the Savior of all mankind, heard the word of the Lord and trusted that it was true. Her faith, her trust, enabled her to become the mother of Jesus, Savior of the world, and to experience all the joy, excitement, fear, sorrow, loss and rejoicing encompassed in that title. Oh, to be able to trust like Mary!