Have you made your list of New Year’s resolutions yet? Drafted a list of goals and objectives for this next year? Reviewed your list from last year to see how you did and determine what adjustments you need to make this year? Maybe you’re already starting on something new this year – a new diet, new exercise program, taking a class to learn something new? Or, are you rolling into this new year feeling already behind and exhausted? Not sure what this year holds and not sure where you should focus?
I have to admit I’m feeling a bit behind already. Not yet ready to take on the world in this new year. Not yet ready to jump into the list of big, ambitious goals and projects I wrote down for this year. I long for a bit more holiday rest and time off from the day-to-day. Yet, we’re fully into January and time is marching on. It’s time to put away the holidays and forge ahead into the new year.
For the past several years, I’ve been choosing one word to guide my year. One special word chosen through prayer – or, more accurately, one word that God has given me, placed on my heart and set for my year. It’s become the lens through which I view the year. The filter I use as new opportunities arise, as decisions need to be made, as I make choices about what to do next. It’s a word that encourages and guides me throughout the year.
The words haven’t been easy ones – God’s guidance rarely is. They’ve each required me to grow in my faith, to take chances and trust where God is leading, and to move beyond the comfortable. Words like EXHALE, LAUNCH, and STEP. These have led me to begin writing and speaking about my faith, to start this blog, to develop and lead women’s retreats, to write and publish books, and much more. How I longed for something easier this year, something less active, something more restful… But God said, “not yet.” In fact, this year’s word may be the hardest one I’ve had and the one that will require the most of me.
The word God gave me this year is TRUST.
I didn’t want this word. I know it’ll mean big things ahead and big leaps of faith. I also know it’s exactly the word I need this year and at this point in my journey. It’s also a word I can’t escape. God’s been putting it before me everywhere I turn.
So, what does it mean to TRUST? More specifically, what does it mean to TRUST GOD?
On one hand, TRUST is passive. It’s being still and allowing God (trusting God) to work in your life and lead the way. Stop trying to find your own way, cease striving to make it on your own, stop worrying about what’s next or how it will work out. Trust God and He’ll lead the way. He will provide the answers and the resources. He will fight the battles ahead.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“Be still” is about resting in faith and trust that God is faithful and will lead the way ahead. It’s being still, so you can fully put your trust in God.
On the other hand, TRUST is active. It’s actively stepping out into the unknown, trusting that God will be there to equip and guide you. It’s through the action of stepping forward that God guides.
It’s tempting to look at TRUST and think I can just sit back and trust that God will provide a clear roadmap and starting signal when He’s ready, but I know it’s more than that. Trust isn’t about sitting back idle, waiting for a sign from God. It’s about continuing to take the next step before me in trust that I’m on the path God has set (and trusting that He’ll move me back if I take a wrong turn). It’s continuing to move forward into new growth areas, learning new things, stepping beyond the comfortable, moving ever closer to His better future for my life, trusting fully in Him when the next steps feel overwhelming.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
What is your word for the year? How will you TRUST GOD more as you step into this new year? Will you join me in praying for this year ahead and all God has planned for you and for me?
Father Almighty, As we stand at the start of this new year, fill us with hope and expectation for all that You have planned in our lives. Renew our energy, refill our spirits, restore our hearts, and revive our faith so we might step forward into what this year holds, trusting fully in You. Help us to listen for your guidance and readily follow. Remind us to take time to be still and allow You to lead the way. Remind us to pause and pray often, tuning in to Your voice as we face each new challenge and decision. Amen.