Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Word for 2019

Last year was my first year "choosing a word". I wasn't sure if it was just trendy, or something worth doing, but I am happy to report a year later that I am a huge fan of having a word of the year. Looking back on 2018, my word was "cultivate", and boy did it ring true! I found myself pruning and preparing for something new. I was forced to live in chaos at times, forced to be patient when I didn't want to be, all the while focusing on the beauty that lay ahead, promising to be worth it all. And so, that leads me to my word for 2019: listen.

I'm going to be real with you here: I'm not always a great listener. I often rush into trying to talk and process and solve the problem, but I don't always listen long enough first. I'm not proud of this, it indicates my faults: my desire to rush to share my own words rather than hear another's. That I am selfish at heart and that I feel like I can trust myself more than others, that I need to drone out their opinions or speak my piece. And I don't want that. Listening requires patience. It is an act of faith, of grace. It is loving and kind. I want to do a better job of listening to people's hearts, their hurts, their joys. I want to do a better job listening to my friends, and serving them in that way. I want to do a better job listening to my husband, and honoring him in that way. I want to be slower to speak and quicker to listen. Because listening, and truly hearing, prepares us to speak and act well.
A huge part of listening this year is continuing to seek God's will and listen to hear His direction. As I've alluded to lately, He has definitely been on the move in our lives in the last year. I feel like we have had all sorts of crazy things happen and all sorts of huge decisions present themselves, and it has been hard to make these decisions without feeling doubt here and there. Were we doing the right thing? Were we marching towards our dreams? And yet, we keep putting one foot behind the other, stepping out in faith and trusting that the Lord has far bigger plans for us as we seek to follow His will. (And friends, I'm so excited to share more about this in the coming months!)

It isn't like I can just call God up on the phone and hear His voice, so listening in this sense requires prayer, requires reading His word, requires laying down my own selfish ambitions and desires- separating my emotion and listening to where He is leading us, even if it's not necessarily somewhere I want to go. And it takes patience. It takes shutting off my own worries and shutting out the shouts of the world. I find peace in knowing that God listens too. That He hears my voice and my cries, and that He knows me better than I know myself. That He is willing to give grace to me and show me the love and kindness that I am often to hesitant to give others.

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." - James 1:19 (NIV)

"But he said, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'” - Luke 11:28 (NIV)

So with that, I commit to striving to listen this year. To be slow to speak. To show others grace and kindness, to love them enough to hear them out, or even to just be there to listen without saying a single word in return. And I'm striving to listen to the Lord, now more than ever, as He takes us on this incredible journey.