Sunday, January 15, 2017

Word of the Year

  I love new things!
Whether it's that dress I purchased for a special occasion and wear for the first time,
holding a brand-new baby or
exploring a town that I've never seen before:
there is an element of delight in experiencing something new.

A new year carries a bit of the same thrill for me!
It's an unwritten page, clean and fresh, with no mistakes in it.
Goals seem achievable (at least for the first two weeks!), and many resolutions are made.
But I tend to stay away from most New Year's resolutions,
simply because I'm too practical to start something I know I won't finish.

There is one thing that I have done for the past several years,
which I have found to be worthwhile and effective:
choosing a word for the year.
It amazes me how God gives me a word that is specific to the situations I face throughout the year!
Last year, the word(s) He gave me were "bold and courageous". 
They were a reminder to me that I could step into the unknown with courage,
and often gave me strength in uncertain times.

This year, as I prayed about my word for the year,
God gave me a specific verse on three different occasions in a day's time.
When that happens, I pay attention!

"Do not fear, for I am with you.
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand." Is 41:10

At the same time, the word "fearless" continued to be impressed on my heart. 
God revealed to me how much fear I have lived under,
and how that keeps me in bondage.
Over and over, when the Lord spoke to people in the Bible, His first words were "Do not fear".
And that is still His message to me: don't fear!

Fear never fought battles; it causes us to lose them.
Fear never empowers; it only defeats.
Fear locks us from being all that God created us to be, and then mocks us for being afraid.
But there is an antidote, and that is the perfect love of God.
It alone is powerful enough to cast out fear!

Since the beginning of the year, I have fought some real battles.
And I have been fearful and afraid.
But I have found strength and victory in the God Who promises,

"I have not given you a spirit of fear,
but of power, love and a sound mind."

I will have to make the choice again and again to not give in to fear,
to choose to be fearless.
And it is possible, because the One Who walks with me is King of kings!
 He won the battle,
and He makes me brave.