My word for 2016 was TEND. I remember sitting around a table with other women in January and sharing my word through tears, fatigue, sadness and fear. I knew in my spirit that 2016 was going to be a year of pulling back, saying no, reprioritizing my life. My goal was to “quiet my life and my relationships” as written in my Powersheets. I had no idea what that would entail.
It turns out that tending looked a lot like pruning. I had envisioned tending as a gentle watering of my life, adding the fertilizer of good things, and nurturing growth. God had a different plan in mind for me. He began a work in me to prune my life of priorities, habits, beliefs, and patterns that were unhealthy, not producing fruit, and hindering growth in myself and my family.
My faith felt quiet and dark, silent and confused. Ways that I had viewed God, ministry and relationships were exposed and crumbled without the clarity to quickly move to health and wholeness. I had to surrender. Surrender to the dark, to not being able to save myself, to trust His work, to receive my worth and identity based on Christ and not on my strengths, my service to others, my availability, generosity or thoughtfulness. When all of the good in you feels gone and you wonder if you are loved, stripped and without performance, you find that God does love you.
I felt the quiet of the Holy Spirit nudge me in November that my word for the New Year would be WAIT. I thought, “that’s about as non-productive and unsexy as it gets.” I am by nature impatient and often impulsive. My motivations are often driven by fear or anxiety so I move fast. I demand closure, answers, and clarity, but God asks me to live open-handed, to trust, to be free in Him. I live much of my spiritual life in the land of the “will”, doing and doing for God. This year is an invitation to learn to wait and to be with. Presence.
After so much tending and pruning, it is now a season of waiting. Wait for His presence. Wait for the growth. Wait for the fruit. I am a producer, and He is showing me again that I cannot produce connection, fruit, maturity. That is His work and His timing and I wait. I Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave the growth.”
A few days ago I looked up synonyms for the word “wait”:
linger, abide, pausing, rest, on hold, halt, interim
It’s a state of expectancy, of hope, of readiness, availability. And of course, the Scriptures, especially the Psalms, are filled with the word “wait”, and my goal is to write down one verse a day that includes “wait”. Nothing fancy, only copying it down.
Henri Nouwen says, “To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is trusting that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination or prediction. That, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.”
Live content in the now. That’s where I am, and although a challenging journey, there is no other place I would rather be or any other lesson I would love to embody.
How about you? What is your word for 2017? I love hearing the intimate places where God leads His children. Our journeys are each unique and yet we walk together. A divine and beautiful mystery.