“I have to find my word of the year.”
Does anyone else feel the pressure surrounding that statement?
One word. For the entire year!
[Now, a lot of people find this silly. But I can say with full confidence that having a key word every year has only furthered my life and my spiritual walk.]
This year, on January 5th, I woke up knowing that my word for 2018 was going to be Focus. And looking back, I honestly cannot think of a more fitting word for my year.
So many curveballs. So much that was NEW. So many distractions. So many objects fighting for my attention. So many things that added pressure to an already pressure-filled life.
I told myself on January 5th that whatever came in 2018, I would be focused. I think I accomplished that goal.
I learned so much about myself this year. It’s honestly amazing to me how much growth can happen over the course of only 12 months. Most recently, I re-learned something that I already knew—that God is always providing for me. There is so much provision in my life—in all of our lives—and it took a semester of God’s guidance to remind myself of that.
And if you know me well, you probably thought I was going to say my word for 2019 is Provision. You were close 🙂 It almost was!
I wish I could say I chose this word, but honestly, I think it was chosen for me.
A little over a month ago, I made the decision to go to grad school. Now that is a REALLY long story, and I’ll probably share parts as time goes on, but what I want you to know now is that I prayed for a very long time for discernment about the future, and when it came, it came pouring. I asked for clarity, and it came in abundance. I prayed for FOCUS all year, and when I needed it most, it was there. I stayed focused through the chaos this year brought, and I not only made it through, but I came out on the other end with a plan, a goal, and a VERY clear path to get there. Provision, from Focus!
Focus took me as far as it needed to this year. But for this next season, I need a new word. Something else to orient myself around. To walk with me through the next season. To guide and stretch me.
My 2018 word needed to be about staying focused and enduring the season I am currently in, while also looking patiently for next season’s path. But my 2019 word needs to shift my mindset towards what to do with this next path I’ve found.
The word I’ve received is ZEAL.
Zeal: great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.
I spent the past year staying focused on the present, enduring the grind of life, all the while staying fixated in prayer for the future. Now that I’ve found the next path, I need to have the right mindset to approach it.
I honestly can’t think of a better word!
Key phrase: understanding Provision leads to unfettered Zeal.
A mouthful, I know. But this is all I mean: when you understand just how much God has provided for you—when you truly take the time to acknowledge it, to believe in it—you can have uninhibited enthusiasm for life and for your end goal. And that’s what I want for this next year.
My life over the past few months has been the greatest testament of how much God provides—and how He knows just when to let you in on what He’s provided. I have an overwhelming amount of clarity and discernment for the near future. And I intend to run towards that with all I’ve got.
When God presents his provisions to you the way He did to me, you can’t help but feel incredibly motivated. I turned around and started studying for grad school entrance exams within weeks of the realization that I was supposed to go. It was a mindset shift. One I needed then, and one I’ll need all next year.
I have been given a personal goal. And I alongside all other believers have a greater end goal as well. My prayer has always been that those two would align, but I know now that both of these goals have to be pursued with great energy. Great enthusiasm. Great zeal.
Forward, towards the future.
I want to pursue everything in life with zeal. I am praying for an energy that can fuel me through whatever 2019 holds. I am expectant for an enthusiasm so grand that I can run after my goals and give them everything I’ve got.
The first part of Psalm 69:9 says, “for zeal for your house consumes me.”
Zeal for God’s house. His people, the plans He has laid out for me, the goals He has given me—the zeal for those things should consume me! I want to be so full of enthusiasm and excitement towards His plans and His people this next year…and forever after that.
A fire has been lit under my feet, and I’m just going to keep running.
Forward, towards the future. Forward, towards the known plans.
There’s a passage in Romans that is very clear about biblical expectations for spiritual zeal.
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” -Romans 12:11-13, NIV
But I also really love how the Message version phrases it:
“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.” -Romans 12:11-13, MSG
And Paul goes on, continuing to spout great convictions and encouragement, but there are a few wonderful notes in these three verses.
Don’t burn out.
Be CHEERFULLY expectant.
Be Patient in affliction.
Be Faithful in prayer.
And Never be lacking in zeal.
Forward, towards the future. Forward, towards the known plans. Forward, towards the unknown obstacles.
I always love to share a song, and I believe my TBCØ friends said it best:
“Feet on the earth, heart full of heaven. Zeal for You completely consumes me!”
Forward, towards the future. Forward, towards the known plans. Forward, towards the unknown obstacles. Forward, with a zeal unlike anything I’ve ever known.
Zeal to say YES.
Zeal to GO.
Zeal to endure.
Zeal to keep fighting the good fight.
Zeal to chase after excellence.
Zeal to pursue grace.
Zeal to stay alert.
Zeal to stay patient.
Zeal to be faithful in prayer.
Zeal to stay expectant.
Zeal for whatever comes my way.
That’s the mindset! Let’s shift together today.