Join the Current
Does God give you a Word or phrase, or maybe a verse or some kind of vision and direction for the new year? I would love to hear what yours are! Every year, God has given me words, phrases or verses to focus on for the year. In 2014, He gave me a handful of phrases in His kindness to help me navigate a tumultuous and challenging path. When I trusted them, He safely steered me through all kinds of obstacles and decisions. When I didn't, ooof, did things explode around me and cause a lot of additional, unnecessary stress.
So I guess it should be no surprise that two of my new phrases for 2015 are:
Focus and Follow. Do it Again.
Doesn't that sound like fun? (where is my sarcasm font?) 2014 was a year of "letting go" - surrendering my biggest fears in the midst of very real circumstances - letting go of my fear of injustice & punishment, fear of pain and deep sadness, fear of unreconciled relationships (will definitely be posting more about this), fear of surrendering. Any of you who really understand what letting go means, you know you have to come face to face with your biggest fears and say, even if that happens (or it is happening) I'm not going give it power to crush me and I trust you completely, God, to meet me. Oh sweet Jesus, are we really doing this again? I thought the new year was supposed to bring, well, New.
But actually, I'm aware of a growing excitement about this. Oh, I'm super tempted to wallow and focus (ahem) on the areas in which I didn't complete, or where I think I failed, or didn't do well enough, and heap on the pressure, etc etc... but that means I'm agreeing with an enemy who has already taken way more from me than he ever should, and I said I was OVER giving him any more power! So - I want to focus on what else I did accomplish in 2014. In the midst of these major challenges, 2014 also brought a lot of new beginnings for me. He had me officially step into ministry in January, led me to Grace Life, International for a theology & counseling class, gave me ideas for art & ministry & counseling, sent me to Africa where I got to meet some of the most amazing people!! He has begun to heal significant relationships in my life that are precious to me. And He also let some die, which is always the beginning stages of new life as well. So, do I want to do this again? Yes!
I've been praying for miracles all year and if I break that down more, I think I've essentially been praying for favor to inject itself into the areas in my life where there doesn't appear to be favor. That's not necessarily wrong, but I think it's the wrong focus and I think there is MORE He wants to show me. I think He wants to re-align my way back with His Will and the best way to do that is to
Join the Current.
Where is He currently, already at work in my life? Embrace it, Join it. Again. More. Deeper. This idea reminds me of Matthew 6:33. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well." What is He already doing in your life - does it seem like a small amount of favor compared to the other circumstances in your life? Embrace it and collaborate with it - it is True Life and it wants to breathe and expand! And isn't that what we want?! So start by embracing the areas He's already showing you favor and let this grow so large that it overtakes everything else.
Know what else The Current reminds me of?
This current, already moving, already on its way, on a mission and all I have to do is ride it (sound familiar?) I have this picture of this flow of water and I'm standing firm in it and it's been moving steadily by and around me, about ankle deep. But I'm suddenly aware this flow isn't meant to be a calming stream. This flow, this year, is suddenly getting stronger, fuller, faster, more intense and focused. It rises until it completely overtakes me and sweeps me off my feet! But there's no fear - this is a rising tide of laughter and strength and passion and More - for me and for His Kingdom. And this is available to everyone! Psalm 23:6 promises this to all of us - so join in, wherever that Current is in your life and embrace it and ride!
And this is for someone reading today: Maybe your flow is very small and slow right now, and it seems as if you're surrounded by desert or a lightning storm and the last place that feels safe or even real is a flow of favor. But it is there - join this current, however small it is, and ride it - it will be what carries you out of the desert and out of the storms and into the Wide Open - and let it get stronger and louder until it overtakes you too!