I just went back and read my blog post where I shared my One Word for 2017. The neat thing about blogging, which in many ways for me is therapeutic and encouraging, is that it helps me to see a bigger picture I might have otherwise forgotten about.
In this case, looking back has encouraged me this evening.
You see, this morning at church I was struggling to focus (no pun intended here) on the sermon. My mind was wandering and my thoughts seemed frazzled. Certain words from my pastor would break through the tangled webs of my mind, awaken me and encourage/convict me.
And then my mind would take the words and wander away again.
This all naturally led me to think about my One Word, and with it being New Year’s Eve, reflect on my One Word choice. Focus. And this morning, in my spider web of thoughts, I was beginning to feel pretty discouraged about how miserably I had failed at my One Word goals.
Until tonight when I sat down and really took the time to reflect on those goals…
- To focus on where and how God wants me to serve my immediate family, my church family, and others.
- I feel I have found victory while still having struggle. I am more aware of some of my strengths, gifts the Lord has bestowed on me that I can use for His people and His purposes. Simultaneously, I still struggle with feeling inadequate. I find myself feeling more compassion for Moses standing before the burning bush. Those questions of who am I and but what if bursting from my lips, my heart at times slow at soaking in the truth that God is with me. The thing is, God IS WITH ME, and as a result I have stepped out into ministry I never thought I would have, and have been blessed even among the struggle of inadequacy with it.
- To focus on my dream to write a book from start to finish.
- I have dreamed this story. Literally, I dream about it at night. I dream the next chapter and the characters and the story line. I am genuinely excited to write it. At the same time – it’s time that I lack. I find myself thinking of it daily, yet struggling to find the necessary time to get it all written out. Tonight however, I am reminded that I have written several chapters. That I haven’t given up. So I am encouraged in the New Year I will continue to work on it, until finished.
- To focus on His Word daily, to continue the habit of personally meeting with Him.
- Praise God for His faithfulness in this. In 2017 I read the Bible chronologically. The experience was good, and it kept me constantly coming back to His Word, which kept me constantly coming back to Him, and thinking of Him, and praying to Him. However, as with the book situation, these last few months I have felt scattered in this area as well. Scattered with being intimate with the Lord, with being His bride instead of a distant second cousin. I think the difference is that in 2016 I journaled through the Bible, where as this past year I just read through it. So in 2018 my intent is to journal through it again. This year I was also encouraged by my husband reading through the Bible at the same time. It was sweet for us to discuss what we were reading at times and to know someone else was facing the same time struggles and falling behind struggles, and also getting the same encouragements and convictions.
- To focus on preparing my nest as my son is a sophomore in high school, and in a few short years my husband and I will have the house to ourselves.
- In this I give great thanks. How ironic it is that today of all days, is a day that my marriage has come under spiritual attack. Why do I say that? Because now that I am taking the time to sit down and truly focus on reflecting over the last year, there is SO MUCH PRAISE to be given here. My husband and I have had an “off” day today. Yet, this year, has truly been a blessing. We ENJOY one another’s company. We have rekindled a romance, and a deep friendship this past year. Praise God for His mercies and His leading in our marriage, and for the fruit He is helping us to produce, and for the rotten branches He is faithful to continue to confront and trim away.
- To focus on my health and wellness, and continue to put into practice truths God revealed to me through my Made to Crave journey.
- This is probably where the last few months I have lost the most focus of all. I’m realizing in this life, this is an area I only experience victory in when I am actively walking the path of victory. What I mean by this is that I must actively be in some sort of study, a spirit of conviction, to continue to honor the Lord with my physical body by not over-indulging in food and laying around in laziness. People struggle with all sorts of different sin issues, I struggle with ungodly over-indulgence in food. Yet, even in this I find encouragement, because this has really been bringing to life the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. It is in this weakness that Christ’s power may be made perfect and work in me.
In addition to all of this, this year I also learned a new phrase. “Imperfect Progress”. It’s a concept Lysa TerKeurst talks about in her book Unglued. I find that this phrase, along with a description she gives about God being the master chiseler, chiseling me into a finished sculpture, have really grabbed hold of my heart. And I think it describes my One Word journey the best.
Imperfect Progress. I have made some imperfect progress with my One Word – Focus. I have found some direction, and where I have scattered and struggled, now as the year ends I find even the struggle is helping me to re-calibrate so that in the new year, I can continue moving forward. Which is my biggest blessing of all this year. I look back on 2017 as a year of moving forward. Maybe not as much as I had originally hoped, however, moving forward none-the-less. For that I am truly thankful.
I’m taking a little more time tonight to prayerfully consider my One Word for 2018. I’ll be back tomorrow to share what it is, because I know that as part of my new year, I want to pick up my blogging again. It’s my way of sharing my heart, and reminding myself of God’s goodness.
I pray my friend that whereever you are, you can see the imperfect progress of your own journey. And that you can also remember God is with you, calling you into an intimate relationship with Himself through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loves us more deeply than we can ever fathom.
I pray that we can all learn how to live the abundant life in Christ as part of our 2018 journey.