My Word For This Year

I think I have a word for this year. You know, a word that describes what you want to bring to the table  or how you want to grow in the coming months. I like asking God for a word like that. Probably because it's easier to focus if I just have this one thing in my mind that he gives me, rather than a long list of things. This word doesn't surprise me. He's been stirring in me to work on this for the past year and while I haven't ignored him, I just haven't really owned it. Well, I've decided to own it. Oh, it's not going to be easy. In fact, I'm a little nervous thinking about all that will be required of me if I really allow God to stamp this word on my heart. I also know that it will take more than just one year of commitment to see this word working in my life. It will take, well...the rest of my life. Oh, you want to know what the word is? Okay...since you asked....my word is....

Discipline. 

Yep, like nails on a chalkboard it screeches out, through gritted teeth. Who in the world loves the idea of bringing discipline to their own life? To bring discipline to my life automatically means telling myself no in some area...or a lot of areas. I have finally come to believe, though, that the desires of my heart, which God put there, will not come to life without discipline. I mean, I can have my cake and eat it too...but I have to work for the cake, make the cake....you get the picture. 

What areas am I going to seek to be more disciplined in, you might be wondering. Well, the one that is most important to me, the one that will bring all other discipline into fruition in my life, is prayer and fasting. Jesus was very clear that there are some things that will only come to us through prayer and fasting. It has nothing to do with earning his power or favor or anything. It is simply a matter of becoming accustomed to hearing his voice and following his lead. It is up to me how much of God's power is at work in my life. He won't cram it down my throat. If I seek, I will find. If I knock, he will open the door. If I pray, if I fast, I will see the glory of God in my own life more so than if I don't. That's just how it works. The more I deny my flesh, the more room I give for God's spirit to really make my heart a home. He wants too, you know? He wants to hang pictures in there, arrange furniture, fill the fridge...he wants to make himself comfortable in there. Discipline will bring all this about in my life, give him room to get comfy. 

There are some others things I want to do in my life to bring about discipline as well. Some of them involve housekeeping, routines, health, things like that. Even though some of those things don't seem like "spiritual" things, I think they are. If I bring an order to the way I manage my home, I am less stressed and I will find I have more time on my hands. If I take good care of my body, I will have more energy to do what God wants me to do. So, it all comes back to my heart and being available to God. 

That's the thing with discipline. When I choose it, I become available to God because my life stops happening accidentally. I start looking for God at work, looking for how I can be a part of what he is doing. There are lots of things God wants me to say or do. He has all these great plans lined up and mapped out and he wants me to say yes to those plans. I was thinking about the obstacles, the lies, I will face as I pursue discipline in my life. After all, if I know what the lies are going to be, I will be prepared to fight them, right? I'm sure you will recognize some of them...

"I can't do it, it's just too hard." - Nothing is to hard because the God of the impossible resides in you and me. We can because he can. Enough said. 

"I'll start tomorrow." Really, will I start tomorrow? Procrastination is THE enemy of discipline, so no, I will not wait..I will do it now. 

"God doesn't care what I do." - Do I care what my kids do? Absolutely! I care what they do, where they go, what they say. Why would God not be that way? He is THE Father. He most definitely cares what we do. What we do determines whether we follow his plans for us or our own plans. He cares.

"If I fail, God will get mad at me."  Is God really so small that his feelings towards me can be swayed by my actions? No, not at all. He is big enough and smart enough to know me inside and out. He will not be shocked, angered, or disgusted with me when I fall down. He will pick me up, dust me off and set me on my way again. He will never stop cheering for me, calling to me or loving me. (This is the biggest one for me. I have to remind myself constantly that God isn't looking for a good performance. He loves me no matter what I do.)

So, those are a few of the lies that I know I will face as I pursue discipline, whether spiritual or physical. I know it will be hard, but it will be worth it. Most importantly, my relationship with God will grow. That makes every sacrifice of discipline worth it. To visibly see God at work in my life, that makes it all worth it. I guess I've made myself accountable to you now, haven't I? Well, that's fine. The more the merrier. We are better together, right? Yes, we are. 

Discipline. That is my word for this year..and many to come, I'm sure. I think restoration was my word for the past few years. God has been rebuilding a foundation in my life so that things like discipline will have somewhere to stand. Yes, yes, I think I am ready to take this one on...without fear or condemnation. 

So, how about you? Do you have a pursuit for this year? Do you have a word? If not, ask God for something. He will gladly supply you with a focus for yourself. He loves to set us on good paths that lead to life. Maybe for you it's walking in peace or learning to be content. There are many, many good things God has for us. Don't be afraid to pursue even the hard stuff. God will be with you, giving you every good thing that you need to fight the battle. Remember, we pursue from the safety of his arms, within the shadow of the cross. 

"For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

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