Did You Get a “Word” for 2016?
A couple of years ago, I read an absolutely amazing book by my friend Robin Jones Gunn titled Victim of Grace. If you haven’t read it, get online right now and buy a copy. Buy multiple copies so you can give the extras as Christmas gifts. It truly is life-changing and perspective-changing! And a really fun read too.
One of the things Robin mentions in this book is that at the beginning of each calendar year she asks God for a “word” for the upcoming year. And she’s always surprised at how that word becomes relevant to her during the subsequent twelve months.
A friend of mine told me that she asks God for a “word” for the year as well. And she too is always amazed at the relevance of it as the months progress.
For both of these women, their “word for the year” usually seems positive and hopeful in January. But as time goes on, they come to realize that some not-so-pleasant circumstances often accompany that word. (Kinda like asking God for patience and then discovering that the best way to learn patience is to experience situations that try your patience! Joy, for example, would be a wonderful word … until you found out that God wanted you to have joy in the midst of extremely painful and difficult circumstances!)
I’d never asked God for a “word for the year” before. And after hearing my friends’ stories, I wasn’t sure I wanted one! But in January of 2016, God gave me one anyway. Actually, He gave me an equation with four words in it.
Prayer + Trust = Peace + Joy
The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that if I pray about the circumstances in my life, and truly trust that God has everything under control and will work all things out for good, then I can have complete peace. If I actually believe that God is working in every situation, I don’t have to worry about any of them. And if I have peace about all of the circumstances in my life, then I am free to have joy. Not just the “My life is horrible but somewhere deep inside I have joy because as a Christian I’m supposed to” kind of thing. But real, honest, bubbling up inside happiness!
Have I had trials this year? Sure. Who hasn’t, right? But I really have been focusing lately on turning everything over to God as it happens. Sometimes I had to put in a good amount of focused prayer before that peace descended. But it has. Every single time.
Does that mean my circumstances are perfect? I think you know the answer to that one too. But truth to tell … my life is pretty close to perfect right now. I have a close and growing relationship with God. I work for myself (and ultimately for Him), so I’m free to spend as much quiet time with my Boss as I want (as He leads me to). I love what I do for a living, and who I get to do it with and for. I have a super-supportive, loving husband, a happy home, good relationships with all of my relatives and in-laws. Both of my sons are grown and doing well. I have lots of awesome friends. I even have a sweet little goddaughter I get to lavish with all the pink, frilly, girly things that I didn’t get a chance to indulge in when raising my boys.
If 2017 turns out to be as good to me as 2016 has been, I will be one happy camper! But I know there’s a good possibility that the new year will bring change. And I might not be particularly excited with all of the changes. Still, unless God gives me some new word for 2017, I’m pretty happy with this year’s equation. Because I have lived the power of it in 2016. Prayer plus trust really does equal peace and joy.
Did you ask God for a “word” for 2016? If so, what was it, and how did it turn out in your life over these past twelve months? Are you asking God for a special word for your 2017?