One month ago God gave me my “word” for 2016 and I still don’t know exactly what it means.
Oh, I know the word — no doubt about it. But what that word will hold in this set of three hundred and sixty-five? I have a few ideas but overall, I’m not too sure.
Be loved. Be love. Be the beloved.
Believe the Truth and ignore the lies, believe there is space at the table, believe that Light is greater than the dark. Believe ended up taking on a meaning I never expected, to be honest, and now it’s an entire chapter in my forthcoming book, Even If Not (nothing about saying that feels normal, let’s be honest).
Near the end of 2014 another word was added in — Emmanuel. And yeah, that rocked my world more than a little bit. But then the page turned and 2015 rolled in. I was more than prepared, ready to go with a list of six different words for the new year… until He interrupted me.
I didn’t like it one bit, and yet I knew it was from Him and so I said yes and chose to watch. It broke me and healed me in all the best ways, y’all. 2015 was so dang hard, full of more lasts than I can count and more new things than I could have imagined. I watched friendships struggle and heal, end and begin. I watched college come to a close and I watched Him break through the darkness inside. I watched Him watch over my people after we walked across a graduation stage and said final goodbyes. I watched Him lead me to a new place and an unexpected job and every day I continue to watch as He provides just what I need again and again.
And then the biggest surprise of all — I watched Him unfold a dream of mine as He called me to write my very first book. I know this post is going to be long, and I promise to talk about my word for 2016, but can we pause for just a minute and laugh at how He over-delivered on these words from when I shared about “watch”?
Keep your eyes open, wait and watch – He will keep His promises. God will watch to see that His Word is fulfilled. Watch Him provide all that is needed when you’re asked 1 million trillion times what you plan to do with your life after graduation. There are hundreds of questions but just watch for the Answer and follow It.
When you leave the place that has been your home for 4 years, when you steal one last look in the rearview, remember He is watching over you, over your coming and your going. Remember to soak in every moment, every new thing and every last, and to count both sides as a gift. And when your voice shakes and your chin quivers and your arms refuse to let go, remember that while you are away God will keep watch over the ones who hold your heart.
And then watch Him blow your mind in all the big ways and the small, too. Watch for the daily joys and watch for the light in the struggles. Dwell in His Word, breathe deep of the Peace in the pace. Love deeply. Enjoy the journey. Be free of hurrying and release the worries. Keep watch and believe.
Okay, God. You clearly know best here.
I thought I knew what watch would mean… and in some ways, I did. But He knows better than I and He blew my ideas out of the water. I’m pretty sure He’s going to do that with my word for this year as well.
And also, dwell. It’s two-fold, in a way.
The more I read His Word and listen carefully, the more I see and hear Him declaring that I am a temple. I feel anything but, much too messy and dirty and ungraceful to ever be a place He would choose to dwell.
And yet He says it’s so.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. – Colossians 1:27
So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us. – 2 Timothy 1:14
I am called to treat my body in a way that honors Him — that means giving myself grace, being gentle with myself when I fail and fall, and choosing Truth over lies. It means recognizing that Emmanuel, God with us, is with me and within me. It means that I am called to live in such a way that He would make Himself at home in me… and those around me would see Christ in me.
As I type this, the word temple encourages me to pause and remember that I am never alone because Christ is with me… and it also reminds me that the most important thing about me must be Him. It isn’t about numbers or stats or a book deal. It isn’t about a ring on my left hand or any honor I may receive. The greatest honor is that as I dwell in Him, He dwells within me.
There are times to walk in the wild and times to settle down and I have found Him in both. This season feels like a mixture of the two, but more than that it feels like I’m figuring out every day who He has made me to be. I don’t know just what it means, but I know temple is the word He has chosen.
And so Lord, may it be so. May I be a dwelling place where You feel both welcome and comfortable. As I live and love and learn in this in between season, shape me into a home You would be pleased to call Your own. Help me dust and sweep and clean out the junk that piles up or gets thrown in the closet. Help me open the blinds and look for the Light. Please give me Your strength to treat myself as the home of Christ, which probably means I should keep the soundtrack of Truth on repeat and run far from any numbers that might shift my focus from You.
As You make Your home in me, help me make my home in You. You’ve taught me about the word dwell before, but help me to soak in Your presence in a new and deeper way. Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Throwing the doors to my life wide open might mean You throw some stuff out that I love dearly, but I pray that I will love You most and walk with open hands wherever You lead. Make Yourself at home, Lord. When others look at me, may they see You.