Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Word

Over the last few weeks I've been reading about people choosing their one word for the year. This idea intrigued me. If you read this post, you'll see I don't necessarily do very well with New Year's resolutions. However, the thought of having one word for the year got my attention. Then like a surprise present I found this website! Check it out, my one word. Click on the media tab and listen to Pastor Mike Ashcraft's sermon at the beginning of this year. He explains the whole thought process behind the one word and gives some great examples from his one word experiences. He talks about the one word being the funnel or scope that you see everything through this year. That's pretty cool and doable for me.

So my one word for this year is Surrender. Surrender is how I will weigh decisions this year regarding family, ministry, health, finances and my relationships. I will be asking myself questions like, "Does this choice surrender my desires to Christ?", or "Am I working this out on my own, or did I surrender to God's timing and plans for me?" I chose "surrender" a couple of weeks ago. Since then I've been praying about a scripture to capture my heart with this word. Philippians 1: 20-21 says,

"For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. "NLT

Paul is actually speaking these words while in prison, so they seem a little harsh. But in the context of my one word, surrender, I want to be bold this year in my choices. Choosing to surrender and die to my choices, my desires and selfishness will be truly living-living for Christ.

What do you think? What is your one word? Do share!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowy Day Reflections

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised." That's Proverbs 31:30 and it's what was on my mind when I woke up this morning. No kidding.

When I went to bed last night there was a snowy blizzard falling down around us. A rare treat for the South and it was incredibly beautiful to watch. I've never seen that much snow falling that fast. School was already closed for today and we couldn't wait to get up and play outside. There was a cold blanket of white across the yard just waiting to be run through.

We got up, put on our warmest clothes, gloves and boots and headed out to make a snowman. Much to our dismay, the snow that was so inviting last night was now covered with a thin layer of ice. Each step we took was like breaking through glass. We tried to make a snow angel instead. You couldn't move your arms or legs for the ice. We'd been deceived. The snow was pretty to look at, but the ice made it hard to enjoy.

That's a good illustration of what Proverbs 31:30 is talking about. It's easy to look the part, to be fun and inviting. I dress like I'm fine; I smile like I'm fine; heck, I'll even tell you I'm fine. The truth is sometimes I'm not. Life is hard and challenging. But I desperately want to be the woman who fears the Lord. I want to be the woman who follows hard after God, obeys His Word and loves His people. It's a daily choice and it's so much easier than being deceptive and fleeting.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finishing Well

Happy 2011! I know I'm a little behind, but I've been mulling this over for awhile now. The New Year always brings about thoughts of commitments, plans and resolutions? Do you make any? Do you keep them?

I used to make resolutions…at least in my mind I did. Very seldom did I keep them though. You know the ones, like lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, stop yelling, read more, pray often, etc, etc, etc. Somehow I always manage to lose steam with my well intentioned plans for a new year. (Thus my mulling and pondering over the last few days.) How will the year 2011 be different? It's not that I don't want to succeed, but I think my approach has been flawed.

Recently I heard Dennis Miller, the comedian, say, "My resolutions are to get fat and smoke, because I know I can do that." That's funny, but his logic rings true to me. Most all of the resolutions I've made have been things that I could do, at least that's what I thought. The truth is that I've not kept them because I've not been able to exercise control. This year I want it to be different. I want to finish well.

As I've prayed over the New Year this past week, God kept bringing this verse to my mind. Proverbs 15:22 says, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." The flaw for me in failing to keep my resolutions has been in not having accountability, not having wise counselors to encourage me. As the verse says, it takes many advisers. This year instead of making my mental list and keeping it to myself, I'm sharing it with my family and prayer team. The key is that these people love God, love me and get where I am. They're not afraid to be honest with me.

If you struggle with keeping your resolutions and finishing well, then find someone to keep you accountable. Ask God to give you someone who loves Him and you unconditionally. Then wait and see who He brings. I met some of my closest companions on the phone, on a ball field and standing in line at a restaurant. You'll be amazed at what happens when you commit your plans to God.