Happy New Year!
Do you have a word for the year? It’s my favorite and most enduring approach to a new year’s resolution (and it’s only a four-year-old tradition).
- Year one, 2016, my word was brokenhearted. As I immersed myself in researching and writing Denial, God led me to write a book to help heal those whose hearts had been broken by childhood sexual abuse.
- In 2017 my word was brave. Stepping into the spiritual battleground of abuse incited opposition; along the way I learned that being brave is less about being free of fear and more about be willing to lean into it anyway.
- In 2018 my word was expectations as I realized most of my recent disappointments stemmed from unfulfilled expectations I had of others.
And this year my “one word” is wonder.
It came to me loud and clear on an Advent retreat. I was excited for three hours alone with the Lord. On my first such retreat God spoke to me in endless streams about so many things that it filled my blog for weeks!
As I prayed to encounter him in this time, however, I received something quite different.
God kindly suggested I pursue deeper intimacy with him the same way I pursue it in my other love relationships. He affirmed my passion for his Word and the zeal with which I approach my Bible study. It is good.
But then he suggested that I consider how I am in my marriage and closest friendships.
What is that rhythm like? Are you always on? engaged? talking?
No, I thought; that would be exhausting.
What’s missing then?
Perhaps silence is a stronger sign of true intimacy, deeper than the deepest conversation.
I recalled moments spent sitting quietly with someone I love. There is peace in knowing. Comfort in closeness. Relief in being understood without having to say a word.
So if you want to know me better, God concluded on that quiet, crisp morning in December, make time just to be with me. Sit in the quiet. Wonder at my majesty and glory bursting forth around you (without striving to do so).
I recalled being a child, lying in the leaves and breathing deeply their earthy mustiness. Gazing at the sky as the clouds danced and morphed before my eyes. Peeling moss from the base of trees and touching its velvety lushness. Swimming deep into the water for the chance to be momentarily suspended in space and silence. Nothing intruded on those moments. I had all the time in the world to contemplate, imagine and wonder.
You still do if you choose to do so.
As I plan for the year ahead, and break it down into months and weeks, days and hours, I am going to be intentional about making time to hang out with God.
Because I love him.
Because I want to know him better.
My heart’s desire right now is to experience his presence more deeply, more often, and be filled with the wonder that creates.
And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying,
“We have seen extraordinary things today.”