I know people who would punch you in the nose for quoting Romans 8:28 NIV: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Their reaction might be a bit extreme, but when you’re feeling trapped under a dragon, treasure pokes you in the ribs. Desperate for freedom, talk of gold can make you grumpy.
Proverbs 25:20 NIV says, “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” There are times people don’t want to hear positive thinking or sage advice. This, I confess, is the most difficult Proverb for me to remember. I’m not naïve—there be dragons for sure. I’ve felt the weight of their bellies and my eyes have watered from their breath. At times, God empowers me for the fight, other times He just tosses me over His shoulder and carries me out.
We grow stronger when our faith gets a regular workout, but you won’t see a line at that gym on New Year’s Day. We prefer to believe ease equals peace, but in truth it’s experienced confidence which gives peace. It’s better if we don’t wait for big trials to build that confidence. In the same way a post-work power sweat keeps your body primed for action, spiritual cultivation makes us rooted, resilient and resourceful. That’s why I began 1 Moment Wiser. Each day, we refresh our spirits with a 2-minute video. Through longer devotional studies, we develop wisdom and connect with our Creator. I figure if I get you singing, I won’t be the annoying voice in Proverbs 25:20. Instead, I can be the rhythm and harmony that goes along with your song.
Rhythm –the word makes me smile. My friend Jennifer is a source of rhythm in my life. She sets a beat, and I want to dance in every project she begins. Jennifer inspired me to find a “Word of the Year” at the end of 2014. As a result of that process, I began this blog in 2015 with the word “Listen.” In December of 2015, “Cultivate” was whispered to me as I headed for a hike in the woods. The whisper was so strong I turned left instead of right and went to Woodward Park, where every plant is treated with personal attention. The word came alive and defined 2016. I explored the heart-truth that we are nourished by fertilizer and protected by pruning. I realized a hardy plant must drop even its loveliest blooms in order to survive the harsh winter, but it returns in spring more bountiful than before.
Cultivate – a life-giving word. I think back to prior years, when I’d lose a dream and feel my entire identity fall to the ground. In 2016, buds began sprouting two to a branch. I can barely contain them. This brings me to my word for 2017.
I thought it would be Rhythm. Last year was a chorus of ideas and opportunities, learning and teaching, building and maintaining. There were times I tripped over my own feet in an effort to keep time. When December came, I didn’t feel I had time to search for a word, but I knew I needed to pause and appreciate the exchanging of years.
As I prayed over the word-finding exercises, God turned me around to look at what He’d been doing. In 2016, I’d watched multiple ropes circling, my heart racing. Double-dutch, triple-dutch…I wondered how I could handle so many projects. The whole time, God had been weaving them together, using my commitments and relationships to create Synergy. The excitement of that word makes my wiring surge. As the 1 Month Wiser series unfolds, I’ll need synergy—individual parts working in harmony, in rhythm with one another, to produce a combined effect that is greater than each would accomplish alone.
Synergy – that sounds like a job for God. I’m sure 2017 will bring us many interesting words, but I pray you’ll know synergy. I pray your endeavors will strengthen the connection between your spirit and the Holy Spirit, your experiences will empower yourself and others and the combined effect will astonish you.
Do you have a Word of the Year, or is there a word which has inspired you through many years? If so, post it in a comment below. If you appreciate the power of words, sponsor a child today. Compassion International works through local churches in strife-torn areas to teach children how to read, succeed and use words rather than weapons. You will love the difference you make.