Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Into the New Year

          I haven’t thought of a word for the New Year. Folks do that, you know; they choose a word, perhaps one God has whispered in their ear, to signify what they’re going to focus on in the coming year. Reflecting and pondering and praying, though, I realize instead what I’ve learned in the year past. I started 2011 with the hope of being more present - the word I felt I was hearing – to the big and little people around me, in a “be where you are” sort of way, and to recognize the blessings in my life.

Still worthy goals, these, but looking back, there are other words I recognize as a current through my days.

          A few years ago, a wise friend told me of a little axiom that had worked wonders in her marriage, and those words came to me repeatedly throughout the year, with regard to many situations and relationships. The axiom:
“Pray it, don’t say it.”

Anyone who’s been married any length of time, parented a child into the teen years, or well, been human, knows how words – even well-intentioned - can incite quarrels, derail progress and harm relationships.

Some words are necessary – some problems, mine to fix. Other problems are not mine to solve, and misplaced words can make things worse. Praying for wisdom, I’m trying to use words more wisely. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, and it’s usually quite obvious to me when I haven’t listened to that still small voice advising me to hush for a bit; it never goes well.

     “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

          Looking back over the year, I can see what great work God does when my mouth and I get out of the way. There are areas where for years, I’ve tried to engineer change myself, but God is able do it so much more effectively when I step aside and speak my words to him instead.

          In 2012, I’d still like to be more present. I’d still like to listen more, and speak less – pray it instead of say it. I don’t have a word for this year, but I’m waiting, listening, and eager to see where God wants to take us next. I’m so aware of being a work in progress, a sinner saved by grace, living with people who deserve grace and mercy just as much as I do - and it’s only with His help that I have any to give.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14

So I step into the new year, praying for openness to His plans, and for release of my own.

Happy New Year, from our family, to yours.

Trusting in Him,

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