Here we are at the end of January. I’m reading blog post after blog post about people choosing their One Word for the year. And that’s great—it really is. I’ve even written about my own words several times in the past.
Except this year, I can’t seem to come up with a new word. I just keep coming up blank.
And I finally figured out why.
See, last year’s word really threw me. My word for 2017 was “Rest,” which, at the time when I chose it in January I could hardly know that my year would be anything but restful.
My daughter moved 2,400 miles away.
My mom got cancer.
I got glaucoma.
My dog died. (That sounds so pathetic, like something out of a country music song, but it’s true!)
I struggled through edits.
I traveled—a lot.
Other stuff happened.
And other stuff.
And more hard stuff.
When 2017 ended, all I could say was “good riddance!” I was wrung out. Weary. And heavily burdened.
But as I was reflecting on last year’s word, I went back to the post I wrote a year ago and read these words: “I think it’s going to be an interesting year with this unexpected word in the forefront of my mind. I have no idea what God has in store with it, but I know He’s got a lot to teach me about resting in Him. Trusting. Holding on. Staying the course, even when it doesn’t make sense.”
Oh boy, was it ever an interesting year. And thank goodness I didn’t know all that was in store. God had—and still has—a lot to teach me about resting in Him.
See, I don’t have this “rest” thing down. I still struggle and squirm and try to shift and shimmy my way out of that word. I’m still trying to control when I need to surrender. I’m still thinking I’m the one steering the ship when really, I’m a battered boat with a broken-down rudder and torn sails, barely making it to shore.
I’m stumbling to the finish line, trying to get there on my own strength.
Truthfully, I haven’t learned to rest.
One year ago when I wrote about holding on, trusting God, staying the course, I had no idea how much I would need to do that. I had no idea that resting meant just that—holding on, trusting, staying.
So much that happened last year has battered me, but I’m still holding on, trusting God, staying the course. He has never failed me, and I know He never will.
A friend reminded me, in the comments of last year’s post, of this verse: “Come to me all who are labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). That word “labor” can also be translated “weary.” As I come into 2018, I’m weary. 2017 almost took me down, and I’m tired, both physically and emotionally. But you know what? That’s exactly when we need to rest.
So I’m not choosing a new word for 2018. Instead, I’m sticking with the old one: Rest. Because I think I still have some learning to do, and I know I have some resting to do.
Not resting from my work—I have more of that than I’ve ever had.
Not resting from ministry—God can and will still use me if I make myself available.
Not resting from relationships—so many precious people in my life whom I love to care for.
Not resting from, but resting in.
Resting in a God who is real.
Resting in a God who loves me.
Resting in a God who is bigger than my circumstances.
Resting in God’s sovereign care over every aspect of my life—big or small.
I guess I’m a slow learner, and this lesson is too important to miss. I’m going to spend 2018 really trying to understand what it means to rest, not from, but in.
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