I was kind of in a bit of a funk the last week of 2017. A low ebb. I was feeling frustrated at how it seems I find myself in the same place year after year. The house is not clutter-free nor organized. Meals and housework continue to be a source of drudgery for me. As I poured over my goal sheets that I worked on 6 months ago, I felt down at not having made much progress in any area it seemed.
I decided to purchase an e-course that promised to help me get organized this new year. I then poured over Pinterest ideas for chore charts, organizational systems, meal ideas. I also pondered purchasing a second e-course to help me be more productive this new year!
Yes! This is it! This was going to inspire me to get going and make progress towards my goals! I felt a renewed sense of energy and inspiration and the spring in my step returned. Hope kindled anew in my chest. As I revelled in my new found zest and zeal for these next goals, new courses, and new ideas, I also was waiting for a word for 2018. I usually choose a word that I feel that God is impressing upon me at the start of a new year, kind of like a theme.
I was pretty pumped and energized, ready to take on 2018 with fervour and zest! And then, suddenly, a word came to me. It was unexpected; I wasn’t sitting praying or listening to God at all in that moment. But there it was, dropped into my mind. The word that came surprised me. It was not in the space I found myself in at all.
Um… wait a second… what? Did I hear that right, God? I mean… I was hoping to get busy! Get productive! Reach goals! Organize my life! Organize our space!
Ok… I.. well, I just… don’t really want that word, God! It so doesn’t fit in with where I was going this new year! (Are you sure that is the word for me… for this year? Really?)
I don’t want it, God.
It’s too hard, God.
I sat in proverbial rebellion for a bit, arms crossed.
The fact that this word was given and it didn’t fit with my plans made me think even more so that it must be from God.
I trust God. I know He knows best. And I know He has my best at heart.
You know what? still feels so hard. In the mornings, I begin in stillness, and then my busy mind distracts, and my to-do list invades and I run off to write that one e-mail, that one little text, or do that one task that needs doing before I forget. And sometimes, I forget to come back to the One who sits waiting. How many times have I abandoned Him as I rush around ‘doing’?
Often as I journal His words to me, I hear about resting, about being, about just spending time with Him.
Be still and know that I am God. – Ps.46:10
I shared my word with a friend of mine who said that there might be more to this word than I realize – a greater level of insight, or depth or learning that needs to happen. She said that when God gives a word that seems familiar, that sometimes there is more depth to it than what is initially seen on the surface.
Maybe it means that as I cultivate ‘stillness’ in my heart, and in my life, that perhaps that is when God can give me more insight, more revelation than I currently receive. My heart and mind are very busy…. probably too busy to hear from God often.
But also, I think there is something to this idea of finding the still amidst the mess, finding still amidst the busy, finding still amidst the storm. To be honest, it sounds sort of counter intuitive.
I was reminded of the story of Jesus in the boat with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee and how he was sleeping (still) in the midst of the upheaval of a storm. The disciples were freaking out. Jesus was sleeping. Peace and rest amidst the storm. Amazing. I had a picture of me being in the boat with Jesus amidst the storm, and yet somehow, being still with him. Feeling safe despite the chaos around me.
I think that if I am able to find still while in the midst of the challenges, the upheavals, and the storms of life, I might learn something valuable. That is so powerful in and of itself. I want to learn how to step outside the tyranny of time and be in the Spirit in the moment of my day. Just … still…. and be with Jesus.
Right now I’m not sure what this looks like or how I’m going to do it. I need help from my loving heavenly Father, my friend Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Because in my own strength, I feel that I cannot to this.
My hope for this year: still.
And you? Do you have a word for the year? Or perhaps a new spiritual goal?
Blessings, friends. Happy journeying in the freshness of this new year.