“For last year’s WORDS belong to last year’s language and next year’s WORDS await another voice.” T.S. Elliot
Have you found it yet? This year’s voice? It feels like a lot of pressure, like a lot of weight. And it comes so fast… before the last of the Christmas mess is cleaned up, before the leftovers are gone. Red and green are traded for glitter and fireworks and a thundering demand to “be intentional, set goals, tackle the New Year” blasts over “Old Angzine.” SHHHH 2018! I’m still in my Christmas jammies….
We all know that New Year’s Resolutions are SO 2015 and now we are to declare our “word for the year.” And listen, I am here for that! You know how I love all the words so that is enough to get me out of the Santa flannels pronto! Therefore, as all good bloggers do in January, I will share my word of the year with you today. But, here is the thing, I have two, because OBVIOUSLY I do. And they aren’t brand new. And they aren’t just words. They are the filters God gave me as I desperately circled the drain of exhaustion and disillusionment back in the Fall.
Do you ever feel like your voice gets lost? If so many others are living your exact life, only better than you, why try? If so many other’s are closer to the calling you thought God put on your heart, what’s the point? When the to-do’s and demands feel overwhelming, do you find yourself longing for clarity… for ONE THING? I’ve always been attracted to the “one thing” verses in the Bible, the 3 point sermons, the “5 easy steps to _____.” I suppose it’s because I don’t ever feel the luxury to focus on one thing at a time in my “real life,” 3 points always end up being 27, and there are no easy steps. There are good steps, yes, but they are never easy.
So this is where I found myself, so many balls in the air I was dizzy. Opportunities coming my way I had prayed for, and yet the laundry still needed to be done and groceries bought. Was there room to be the old me but do new things? Could I be faithful to old roles and forge new territory? To do the things that made my heart sing, and do the things on my to-do list? Was there room? Was there time? Is there ever? Currently I am reading “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson and “Chasing Slow” by Erin Loechner. Can I do both? Chase a lion and chase slowness.
What divine rhythm does God have for me? What divine rhythm does He have for you?
Dizzy I tell you.
“God, give me my one thing… give me a measurable filter for my days, my yes’s and no’s, give me a grid for my focus.”
“Be a Spark and a Bridge.”
Wait, isn’t the saying something about burning bridges? Don’t sparks = fire which burn bridges? How can it be both? How can there be room for both?
Can I tell you something hard. On the very weekend that my daughter’s hundreds of hours of hard work paid off in a breathtaking performance in The Nutcracker, I said goodbye to the best dog I will ever know. So I smiled and cheered and checked eyeliner, and then laid on the floor beside my favorite nonhuman ever on her last night and sobbed my eyes out. See, there is room for both… it’s always a tension. New and old. Lions and slowness. Life and death. Sparks and bridges.
So, that is it. When the confetti welcoming 2018 cleared, when I quieted the voices and lies and expectations and noise, when I got up off the floor, that is what I heard. Be a Spark and a Bridge. Now, it’s not ONE THING, it’s two. It’s not my WORD of the year, they are WORDS. But they have given me a clear window view to my role. Those signposts point me to what I need to focus on and what I need to let go of. They are the rumble strips for my attitude and calendar.
I can’t wait to share with you how each of them will (prayerfully) play out in my mothering, gathering, and ministry this next year… I can’t wait to discuss ways we are all called to be sparks and bridges and to pay homage to those who have been that to me. Join me for part 2 and 3? And tell me, at this precipice of a New Year, what do you hear calling to you? What is imprinted on your heart for 2018? I can’t wait to hear.