It started with one word.
As I prayed and asked God to give me a word, that one came easily. I don’t trust easily–not people, not God. And when things loom like college expenses, I run the opposite direction of trust. I embrace my friends named Worry, Fretting, and Stress. They’ve been my companions far too long. They’re my fallback, my automatic reaction when I can’t see my way out of a situation.
Then the Lord reminded me of Jeremiah 17:5-8. Let these words sink into you.
This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
I think I’ll memorize those verses. I certainly embody that imagery of “stunted shrubs” when I worry. I want to be one who trusts, not in me, not in my ability to fix a situation, not in circumstances becoming favorable, but in God, the One who raises the dead.
The next word:
Normally I’m an engaged person, but there are times when life gets too stressful or overwhelming that I move into myself and cocoon. I did this in France, withdrawing often. This last year I noticed it creeping into my heart and actions again–this tendency to recoil from the public, to stay in my house. I’m not a recluse, but I’m seeing that tendency more and more in me and it scares me.
So the second word God gave me was Engage. To connect with folks one on one, in groups, on outings. To be with people, not just online but in person, face to face. Living, breathing, laughing relationship.
This also relates to my tendency toward workaholism. I didn’t engage enough with my kids and hubby this year because I let work get in the way. Engaging will change that. It’s not easy for me to pull myself away from work, but by God’s strength and grace, I will.
The last word:
Last year, I did embrace health. I worked out a lot, did grueling bouts of boot camp, and competed in another triathlon. But for a period of time, I worried far too much about my weight. So I gave up worrying about it, which turned out to be a huge blessing. I reasoned that my hubby thinks I’m beautiful, and he’s really the only one I’m out to impress, so why worry?
In letting go of worry, I also gave up on eating right, which was probably the wrong thing to do. I feel sluggish. I can tell I’m not optimal. So, although I am still going to try to forget about weight, I do need to embrace health--less refined sugar, more veggies, less sweet tea. I don’t have a weight goal, just a health goal to eat better.
I’ll continue running, as those times are precious to me. And I’ll pray for ways to grow in my heart, to be willing to take risks, to embrace folks who need embracing, to speak encouragement to others. And I’ll give myself permission to pamper myself once in a while. To do the things I love, that bring me energy and joy.
Things like cooking. Gardening. Decorating. Creating. Resting. When I’m joyful (after doing these rejuvenating things), I’m a better Christ follower, wife, mommy and friend.
So here’s to Trust, Engage, and Health. May 2011 be an amazing year!
Q4U: What word is God speaking over you? Or words?