For the last few years, instead of drafting a long list of New Year's resolutions, I enter the new year prayerfully, asking God for a word, phrase, or image to capture his desire for me for the coming year. This doesn't mean I don't make resolutions (cut WAY back on sugar consumption, improve work balance, save more money), but instead, that those resolutions are realistically shaped by an overarching Christ-shaped goal.
Last year, the word was Rejoice. We did a lot of that in my house in 2015. We celebrated birthdays, grad school graduations, finished loan payments, a successful Homecoming, a passed licensure exam, and friendship in a trip to Ireland. I've reflected on God's goodness- how he calls us into partnership with him in ministry and how he celebrates over us on the daily.
In a lot of ways, 2015 was a really great year!
But I think that God knew that it would also be a really hard year, and that I would need people calling me to rejoice.
You know when things look really great on the outside, but below the surface you feel like you're suffocating? That was this year. I finished my Masters in Social Work, started a new job that I'm good at, received my District Minister's License, then passed my social work licensure exam. As roommates, we look kind of like we've got it all together. *insert Rebecca and Victoria laughing here*
In all honesty, I really struggled this year with direction. For a while I felt like pursuing my MSW was wrong- that I should have been in seminary. I left a church, after about 2 years of struggling to stay, and felt like I failed them. I struggled to find a church community. I took on too much responsibility at work before I was ready and was emotionally and physically drained. I watched a lof of friends get married and pregnant, and wanted that desperately for myself. I felt simultaneously 12 and 40, with some people expecting too much from me, and others ignoring my gifts and what I can offer. I begged God for fulfillment, and felt like he didn't answer fast enough. I really struggled to study scripture regularly and to pray... not about other people- that comes easy, but about what's going on in my own heart and life.
This year, I'm supposed to be formed by the words: thirsty and drink. He's called out images of water- of drinking deep and long. Of thirst I didn't know that I had- of a desperate, panting demand to guzzle life giving water.
I wouldn't exactly call this past year dry. I've known dry ones. More like just muddling along, sludging through mud and mist. Not feeling thirsty, but dying of dehydration none the less.
And God is interrupting.
This year, I'm praying that he awakens and stirs in me a deep thirst for his voice and his word, and that he helps me to develop the discipline to drink deeply, regularly. To seek the true satisfaction of my soul and to be awake to its need.
Happy New Year! I'm praying right now that God lead you deeper in 2016.
"Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14