I wrote this time last year about this concept of choosing “a word” for the year. Lots of bloggers do and last year I very nearly did.
Brave would have been my word had I picked one, I said.
I’ve seen friends select their words with great care, focusing in on an element where they want to strengthen their life. Either focusing on an area of spiritual growth or physical improvement or emotional well being.
Then they get hammered in that area of their life.
Yikes! Well, I know I did this year even with my not quite selection of “brave.” I suffered from more extreme fear this year than I ever have in my life.
I’d given no thought to selecting a word for this year.
Mainly because I have no earthly idea what 2016 will hold, or even what it should hold.
After spending a life planning the next step or stage or career move, I have no idea what is supposed to come next.
You may have picked up on the fact that I’m a smidge of an ambitious, Type A, control, planner chick.
I’m totally on board with doing what God wants me to do if it fits in with the notion of where I believe I’m supposed to head next. Lately, after having a good laugh I imagine, He’s turned that way of living on end.
If I look back, my life was a series of running after a college or a law school or a law firm or a boyfriend or a husband or a new job or a pay raise or a board election or having children or visibility or a publication or a speaking portfolio.
I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with ambition and drive and goal setting, but it can become a treadmill which runs you instead of you running it.
So…I have no idea what is next. I don’t want to know.
I loved the idea of brave and bold choices. I hope I continue to be willing to step out in action instead of words (more on that next week). That’s why daring greatly is still an aspiration of mine.
This is what has been missing: DISCIPLINE.
I won’t select it as my word of the year because in addition to not generally picking a word, that particular word totally freaks me out.
What does discipline look like?
Be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Titus 2:1
Discipline to say no. No to that scoop of ice cream of glass of wine. No to the speaking engagement which might raise my profile but pull me away from my family for too long. No to that opportunity which sounds good and looks good but isn’t where God is calling me to go. No to chasing titles over substance.
It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior. Titus 2:12
Discipline to shut my mouth. To bite my tongue when it comes to spreading gossip. To shut my mouth when it comes to trying to prove I’m right. To count to 10 instead of losing my temper when the kids get under my skin. Discipline to speak life not criticism or negativity.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18
Discipline to wait. We are a culture of immediacy. We post and tweet and instagram each moment. We email in an instant and text our first reaction. I am a fast moving person in a fast moving culture, and I have lost the discipline of waiting. Of patience. Of pausing. I want to be capable of waiting, expectantly, for what is to come rather than trying to create a result which is less than what could have been if I had practiced some discipline.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed… We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently... And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
I’m a work in progress. I’m making no fancy New Year’s Resolution. Instead, I will try to put on discipline a little more each day, and wait to see what His hand brings in the year to come.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4:18