Well… happy new year! I know this sounds like a cliche, but I really and truly cannot believe the year flew by so quickly. And I also can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted anything substantive – the hacking set me back, for sure, but since I am in full-time ministry, the Christmas season is also one of the two busiest times of the year for me. Add to that my husband’s surgery (minor, thankfully) and I was grateful to just have some time to breathe last week!
I’ve also spent a little bit of time – not enough, but some – praying over what my “word” should be for 2012. I did this for the first time in 2011 on the advice of a friend, and the process affected me deeply. In January, together with some good friends, I spent some time in prayer seeking God’s guidance about what aspect of a godly character he wanted me to pursue in 2011. In addition to one word that defined that characteristic, I asked for scripture to guide me and a song to inspire me. The scripture I kept going back to (over and over and over) was this:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (I Cor 13:4-8a)
Yeah… for a while, I thought my word was going to be “loving” – but no. My word was “patient” and God gave me lots to be patient about in 2011!! And I’m not done – I’ve made great strides, but patience is something that I need to be mindful of all the time, and it will be years before I can truly count it as “fruit” in my life.
But the pursuit of a godly character is cumulative (and never-ending), and there’s not just one thing we’re supposed to be chipping away at, so I’m pressing in and seeking the next step in 2012. I’ve been hoping for something a little less stressful than “patient” – but our growth needs to be intentional and comprehensive, and so neither of the two finalists for 2012 is particularly easy. I’m still praying about which of the two to focus on…
There are a couple of things that are crystal clear: I need to simplify, to get my house in order. And I need to spend more time in consistent pursuit of creative expression than I do currently. At the moment, I still feel tired and spread too thin, and it’s hard to imagine how I’ll find the time for either. But I am coming to see clearly that a lack of simplicity in my life is slowly killing me – the maintenance of “stuff” is unbelievably time-consuming, and the poor or non-existent maintenance of stuff I know I should be taking better care of becomes the biggest stressor at all. And the energy spent in the act of creating – writing, making jewelry, taking photographs, or cooking – becomes a kind of meditation or prayer that clears my mind and energizes my spirit. It’s good, and it’s good for me, and I need more of it.
So… day 1 of the new year, and I’m pressing in, seeking God, and asking for a clearer vision for my life. No resolutions, just faith, one day at a time. Happy new year!