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.