One Word~ Submit
My one word theme for 2016 was “thrive”. I entered the year with great anticipation. My kids were doing well in school and I was feeling the stirrings to pursue my passions. But by the time May rolled around, I had forgotten what my one word for the year even was and I felt buried under pressures, hurts and disappointments.
As I examined the debacle of 2016, I realized that much of my floundering was not due to circumstances, but was instead the result of unmet expectations. The summer became a season of reflection and by the end, I was convinced that thriving could not occur if I was waiting for all of my circumstances to align perfectly. Rather, thriving must start with the internal workings of my heart.
I read through the book of Isaiah and as the words of the ancient prophet washed over me, I began to understand what thriving truly meant.
O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress. Isaiah 33:2
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6
I am he who will sustain you;
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4
I had settled on a faulty assumption in regards to thriving. I thought it was about reaching my own goals and desires and experiencing joy and happiness as a result. Instead, thriving is about God and about Him alone. It is about his graciousness, his strength, his salvation, his wisdom, his knowledge. He is the one who sustains, he is the one who has made me and will carry me, and he will rescue me.
I knew all of these things on one level, but walking down the dark and twisty roads I was asked to walk, taught me these truths in a new and fresh way. Just in time really! It was soon after our homeschool year started (THAT is another blog post entirely!) when I was faced with the biggest challenge of the year. My mom fell during the night on an excursion and it was horrifyingly difficult for my sister who was unable to care for her. This began a decline in her health and a roller coaster of emotions.
How does one thrive in these kinds of circumstances?
Fresh on my heart was the reminder that my hope cannot be in my own plans, but instead must be firmly anchored in the truth of God’s Word. As my heart broke, God held the pieces of me close to His heart and he did indeed rescue me. Not by healing my mom or resolving hurts that threatened to consume, but by giving me Himself.
As 2017 begins, I am no longer focused on my plans, my passions, my goals or my future. While thriving is a wonderful thing and a blessing from God, it cannot be on my terms. And so, I am seeking to submit to the plans God has for me, to allow him to give me the desires of my heart as I delight in him (Psalm 37:4), to trust his work in me and to yield my future to his design.
“Thrive” was not what I expected it to be and I am beginning to think that is exactly what God is trying to teach me. Don’t expect, be surprised!
And so I’m ready to be surprised by this year as I learn what it means to “submit” in all areas of my life.
Have you picked a “one word” theme for 2017? If you are a blogger and have written a post on the subject, please share your link in the comments. I would love to read your posts!