I don’t know if it’s a Christian thing or not, but we make a big deal about choosing your “WORD” of the year instead of making resolutions (we assume you won’t keep those anyway.)
I like resolutions, and one word is so… limiting. I never quite got the hang of it. Last year’s ‘word’ was something like: “I will not start January this way ever again.” (I was proud I got it down to nine words!) I think I nailed it. Life today looks NOTHING like life last January.
As I sat down to write out New Years Resolutions, my list kept getting longer and longer, and even I (who love goals and new starts and resolutions) was getting discouraged looking at it.
So I stopped. Asked God what he saw.
While I’m frustrated and discouraged at the slow pace of restoration, He sees it differently.
I am aware that the year ahead may not get easier, I may not see leaps and bounds of progress, yet I know God is doing a good work in me. I recognize how foundational this learning curve is – how futile any other growth or success would be if I don’t get this right first.
You see, I struggle with receiving love and replace being known and loved with being useful and indispensable.
I am emphatically useless these days.
And granted, 80% of my “relationships” have fallen by the wayside. Truth is, I’m okay with that for the most part. I recognize it’s a 2-way street, and it’s also up to me to pursue the relationships I want to keep.
But there’s the select few who’ve leaned in instead of out. Who have spoken into my soul that I am loved. End of story. Not for anything I bring to the table. When I bring nothing, they stick around. Past the broken stage. Past the grieving stage. Past the “when are you going to get better” stage. They’re still here, and they’re leaning in. They remind me in tangible ways how God’s love works. He, too, is absolutely, 100% crazy about me. He thinks I’m the bomb. He’s crazy, but He’s also the King of the Universe so I’m not going to argue!
There’s also the truth that while I had (have) an ego, I also treated myself like I was disposable. I had to earn my own self-respect. When you live that way it’s almost impossible to truly believe and trust God’s love.
It’s almost impossible to help yourself from his storehouse of riches if you feel like you have to earn your right to be there.
It’s like a princess working in a factory for enough bread to eat when her father is King of the land and waiting for her to come home.
Or like the prodigal son.
There’s a quote from James Bryan Smith I mention often in my blog:
I am one in whom God dwells and delights.
I love it and say it often over myself to remind me of my value and worth – not because I’m so awesome, but because of who gives me worth.
There’s a second part to that saying:
I live in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is not in trouble.
Which leads me to my Word.
Yes, I have a word this year. From God, I believe. And it’s even one word, unlike my previous cheat.
Here it is:
My father is a king. I am to live like it. No more begging for scraps – of attention, affection, respect, hope, security…. I am heir to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. And not just an inheritance, my father’s got riches you can’t even imagine just hanging around the palace and they are mine for the taking whenever I have need.
My father is a king. I have no need to live exposed to the elements, vulnerable to attack. His is a strong kingdom and I have a home there. I belong. I do not have to earn my keep or risk exposure – I am recognized as the homeowner’s family and I have rights and priveledges, security and strength in my home.
My father is a king. His kingdom is strong, unshakeable. Though we may be constantly under attack, he commands armies and has unfathomable power. His house is a fortress. If I ever find myself under attack, run home. Know I have my own bodyguards. Know he has trained me, too, in warfare and I am not unarmed or untrained or outmatched. His kingdom is strong and unshakeable, and I am precious to him.
My father is a king.
I can distance myself from him, or I can draw near.
I can come home for Christmas, or I can live at home all the time.
I can be on polite terms with him, or I can be crawl-in-his-lap terms as his daughter.
I choose our relationship, but his arms and his doors are open.
So in 2019… DWELL.
DWELL in God’s kingdom.
DWELL in God’s house.
DWELL in God’s presence.
DWELL in his grace.
DWELL in his provision.
DWELL in his safety.
And hopefully by the end of 2019, I’ll stop feeling so shocked that this is for me. I’ll begin to live as if it’s my birthright (which it is).
I will know His face and I will know His heart because I’ve spent the year in His presence.
And I hope and expect one day He’ll have a task for me, and I will be useful again. I think He’s given me some gifts that will be needed again. But this year, I get the impression he’s a lot more concerned about my identity as his beloved daughter than He is about my usefulness.
So I’ve got New Year’s Resolutions: tackle our debt, run a half marathon, lose a few pounds, declutter the basement… but if none of those happen, I’ll be okay.
So long as I DWELL in the house of the Lord.