Last February, I wrote about my first “word of the year.” I spent 2018 meditating on and trying to live out the call to Proclaim. That focus led me to work harder on writing, on making connections, on looking for ways to tell the goodness of God as I have experienced it. My sense of vocation and purpose strengthened, and I think I will never be the same.
This year, another word chose me. It’s a little quieter, less apt to rouse a thrill of excitement.
Here in February, when New Year resolutions and determinations tend to fade or wither, I am unpacking this powerful adjective. God is faithful; I want to be found faithful. The two associated nouns, faith and faithfulness, give me two lenses to see myself as I seek to become more like Jesus.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) How I trust God, what I trust Him with and for, how my trust informs my actions and words— these are the measure of how open my heart-conduit is to the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
Faithfulness, for me, can often be seen in whether 1) I took the time to pray over and plan my work for the week ahead and wrote it down, and 2) whether the pages of my planner show items checked off, or with notes scribbled beside, and maybe a coffee stain or two. I am not, by nature, a planner or doer. For some people, there are temptations to become too busy. For me, the temptation, I’m afraid, is to laziness. At the end of each day, I can tell if I rested or took recreation because it was the right healthy choice, or if I took it to avoid the pain and discipline of the good works God gave me the opportunity to do. The first gives me a sense of satisfaction and peace; the second gives me dissatisfaction and a shame I need to confess to God. Too often I simply neglect to persevere.
I want to be faithful. I want to live out my life full of faith in the One who loves me best. I want to faithfully serve the hearts I see who are hurting, who need words of encouragement and hope and comfort. The ones who are in that season with no rest and refreshment in sight. The ones whose kids are in crisis and there seems no end. The ones who are dealing with grief and burnout and despair. The ones sort of doing well, but waiting for the other shoe to drop. The ones whose homes are chaos because of mental illness, and the ones whose homes are emptier because of mental illness.
Because I love God and I’m learning to love His people, I am practicing faith and faithfulness.
Do you have a word or focus this year? How is going in the second month?