Monday, December 29, 2014

When Listening is the Answer to the Question

This is only my second year – the second time I’ve officially stepped up and committed to one word to define the 365 days of 2014.

Looking back, I can say I both completely embraced my word and yet completely let go of my word. It was return – and return I did – to many of the things I wrote that I wanted to embrace and dwell in. There are things I wished I dived in to more, but lingering on the missed opportunities won’t bring them back, and I am in desperate need of grace ….

As this year tipped over towards its sprawling close – alight in the hustle and bustle of celebration, and festival, the quiet question shimmered in the back of my mind: would I do it again? Would a word find its way into my heart? Would I feel led towards of word of meditation? Would I return?

It came down to three words. First scribbled into the margins of my planner. Questions more than anything. Wondering if these one of these words was the one. I prayed and asked and read – seeking a confirmation that I was headed in the right direction. Each petition followed by silence and a hanging feeling of an ellipsis – still incomplete.

The words migrated to three post-it notes on the edge of my calendar – hovering over me on bright pink squares – unresolved.

Then Saturday night while sitting somewhat distracted in the church sanctuary – the echo of worship songs still in my ears – I heard the word, and the description of the feelings I had around the word – repeatedly in both the children’s talk and the evening’s sermon.

I heard it in the story of Elijah – fleeing for his life into the wilderness of Beersheba; standing in the mouth of a cave and bearing witness to the terrible, awesome power of God; yet finding him in the aftermath – in a whisper. I heard it as Pastor Paul spoke of the benefits of restorative rest – not just taking a break, but being intentional about setting aside true Sabbath time for rejuvenation and reconnecting with the Lord. I heard it as I remembered Sarah Bessey’s prayer from the IF Gathering and Faith & Culture: my first writer’s conference; where she prayed over us from a passage in Matthew – calling us to Christ and in to the unforced rhythms of grace.

I heard my word and felt it breathe in to me.


This is a good word for me. This is a hard word for me. I have been described as a good listener, but I’m not sure I listen as well as I used to; as well as I could. I am clouded and cluttered by pre-disposition and pre-meditation. I struggle through my own ideas of culture and expectation. There is more to hear. From my God. From my daughter. From my husband. From my family. From my body. From my neighborhood. From my community. From my world. Things I need to extend myself to without judgment and without immediate answer.

So as this next year dawns, I will be leaning in to hear. I will be waiting with patient expectation. I will be seeking the unbroken rhythms of restorative rest. I will be listening.

As one of my readers, you are one of the ones I want to listen to. One of the ones I want to hear from. Do you participate in the One Word project? If so, I would love to hear what word has called you this year.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had typed a nice long comment, and then I lost it. So the other comment was just to see if I could comment before typing it again. :)

    I was just going to ask you tonight if you had found a word. My word found me earlier this afternoon, and it is not the word I thought it would be. I was thinking "writing", but I never received confirmation. Instead I received another word entirely. "Being". This is such a simple, but powerful word. This is one that I also continue to struggle with as I get caught up in the doing, and forget about the being. I'm not sure what this will look like as I usually try to set goals for my word throughout the year. Yet I know it will be a worthwhile and powerful journey.

  3. I just love how God revealed this word to your heart. And I think it's a perfect word for you. I cannot wait to see how it evolves in you. I wasn't given a word last year, and I was near certain I wouldn't be given one this year. But I was, and it has me shaking in my boots. Will take lots of faith to walk out "content" in 2015. Blessings!

  4. This is my 2nd year for the One Word project. 2014 word was Still. My word for 2015 is NEW. I an unhappy with my job - 11 years experience but only being paid $7.50 an hour, no raises offered, no benefits, no vacation, working 6 days a week - but God spoke to me to be still in His presence and He would lead. With my "new" word, I know He is opening the door to a better job, plus He wants me to write a book

  5. Oh girlie - you know I love this and how it is all intertwined with Rest and with being still and leaning in... praying as you slow to breathe and listen, you will find refreshing and you will hear what He is speaking and in the unfolding of it all, that you will be heard! Love you, friend! Happy New Year! (My OneWord is Wonder!)

  6. Listen. What a wonderful (and difficult) thing. Tremendous things can happen when we choose to listen.

    "Behold the handmaid of the lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word."

    This reminds me of the morning prayers which imply the willingness to listen.

    "Adorable Jesus! divine pattern of that perfection to which we should all aspire, I will endeavor this day to follow Thine example: to be mild, humble, chaste, zealous, patient, charitable, and resigned. Incline my heart to keep Thy commandments. I am resolved to watch over myself with the greatest diligence, and to live soberly, justly, and piously, for the time to come. I will take care of my words, that I may not offend with my tongue. I will turn away my eyes, that they may not see vanity; and I will be particularly attentive not to relapse this day into my accustomed failings, but to struggle against them with Thy gracious assistance. Enlighten my mind, purify my heart, and guide my steps, that I may pass all my life in Thy divine service."

    "Angle of God, my Guardian dear,
    To whom His love commits me here,
    Ever this day be at my side,
    To light and guard, to rule and guide."


Thank you for the kindess of your comment. I pray your patience with the word verification. I've had such troubles with spammers lately. Thank you for grace. I look forward to reading all the comments and responding. I appreciate you!