Friday, January 2, 2009

New Focus

I feel kinda sucked in to talking about New Year goals. It feels like it's what we're supposed to do on here, right? But I'm ok with caving to the pressure. I kinda wanted to talk about it anyway...

Last year, a close friend told me about her plan to prayerfully choose one word to describe the thing she most needed to focus on in 2008. I followed her lead. And the word I felt had been pressing on my heart for quite some time was "selfless," particularly pertaining to my marriage relationship. Well, I did not get very far into 2008 before being really challenged in this area! 2008 was the hardest year yet, but it was absolutely the BEST year. I can't even express how astounded I am by the things God did in my heart this past year in the area of learning to selflessly love. I've tried to say it a few times. Words haven't come. But I hope that one day they will! I was thinking about that new year's practice and wondering if I should do it again this year. It's not like I've mastered the selfless thing yet. If we get right down to it, I've really only taken baby steps. Do I add something else? Then I remembered that I'll always need to be adding things. I'll never really check anything off. So far in my relationship with Christ, I've seen that the more I grow, the more I realize I need to grow. The list of things to work on just becomes longer. And sometimes harder. When you see more of Him, you see more of yourself. The reality of your own heart comes under the light of His perfection and holiness, and you get a glimpse of His perspective on your sin. So...why act like it's strange to see more and more of the things I need to change in my life? It's what His sweet grace is for. And why would we need the Holy Spirit's power in our lives if it was just all a cakewalk from here to heaven? Of course I didn't master selfless. And I won't master any other virtues this year. It's going to be a battle. I get that. I also get that His loving, supportive GRACE is more than enough for the fight. Or climb. Or whatever you want to call it. I think spiritual growth is the only climb that brings you further down than where you started. And I'm learning to want that more and more. It's still a battle though. And now I feel confident to say that it always will be. Don't mistake me for saying I've lowered standards for myself. The only ones I want to adhere to are Christ's, and I am in this. I'm wanting growth. I just have accepted that it's an ongoing process. I know...y'all are thinking, "You're just now accepting that? That's Jesus-following 101. Basic." I've known it. But still struggled with not liking that it's true. Sometimes you just want to be the exception. I want it to be a little easier for me than the rest of the world. Ugh. Pride.

So, for my new focus for 2009, I'm picking a different word for each month. A word that inspires me to press on to live according to the convictions He's already given me in different areas. I only picked 10 so far because, well, God seems to like surprises. This way I'll go ahead and leave some room in my expectations for whatever He might have planned this year that I am clueless about. I'm going to list them here, but the details and context are just between me and Him. The application of some of them are obvious. But most are a focus word that will remind me of something He's placed on my heart and I will know exactly what context or relationship(s) they apply to.


Now, who knows what focuses the new year will actually bring! But these words remind me of things that I know it's time to deal with and grow up in. I know fresh starts are available any day of the year, but there's something so fun about having a time of year that lends itself to a little more reflection about what changes need to occur. Maybe it's because others are doing it too at the beginning of the year that we have greater hope for our own changes. Now that I think about it, the community aspect of it might be what causes us to be better at believing it's all possible. Oh good. Now I don't feel guilty for "buying into the hype" of New Years resolutions that I kinda did when I first started this post. I'm glad I caved.


Courtney said...

that is great. wonderful idea on the one word a month. that would be good. i think i might steal this idea from you if you don't mind

Hannah E. said...

Sure! I stole them from someone else too. =) The author of the blog The Inspired Room is doing it this year.

Dalene said...

Great plan. I generally spend some time in prayer prior to the new year (beginning in November), to ask God for a "word" for the next year. It's been amazing to see how he has been faithful with giving me a focus. I like the word-a-month idea.

Christa said...

What a great idea. I will be eager to hear how the Lord reveals himself to you this year. Happy New Year!