Last year's "word" was grace. Ahhh, grace. Everything about grace seems delightful, smooth, and lovely. Along with it being my daughter's middle name, grace has a very hope-filled tone. To my surprise, focusing on grace taught me about pride and forgiveness, and ended up being more difficult than I ever expected. That's alright, I like being surprised and dare I say, tested by God.
At the end of 2012 I waited and prayed for a new "word of the year" to emerge, some fresh vibrant theme, a grace-filled challenge, a virtue. I wanted an exciting word to center on and shape my thoughts and prayers for 2013. Nothing came to mind and I began to sense that perhaps this whole "word of the year" business was really more about my desire to have a focus than it being God's idea. No word God...ok. Then I saw it. BELIEVE. I have the word believe posted on my mantel and along the staircase. Umm, that can't be it. I already know that one. "Believe" is too obvious, too cliche, too boring. I already believe - don't I?
Day after day the word popped off the page in scripture, resounded in my ears during conversations, and my eyes kept glancing at those silly old signs adorning my home. It became clear that despite my negative reaction to the initial boringness of believe, this was it. I'd have to trust God that working on belief was my task for the year. As I closed out 2012 with the final books of the chronological Bible, this verse from 2 Timothy grabbed my heart.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Could I, would I, choose to BELIEVE these words? Is this truly the type of Spirit that God has give us? Has given me? So many times I feel my actions and reactions are ruled by fear instead of courage, out of weakness and doubt not strength and faith. I live wondering when I'll ever be ready to really do the things I say I want to do...but my willpower fails time and time again. And yet here's this amazing verse that claims the Spirit that God gives us is courageous, strong, loving, and full of all we need to be disciplined and intentional. Oh how I need to believe these truths. I need to soak in God's Holy Spirit. I want to take in and breath in and out this Spirit. This is Life.
As an advocate for children through Compassion one of my desires is to help others see how child sponsorship can change lives; how knowing Christ brings Life. It's important for me to speak with assurance...with belief. I must proclaim without timidity and in love that sponsorship works as a tool to end poverty. I want to encourage sponsors that when they use the self discipline given to them by the Spirit to sit down and write to their sponsored child, they are engaging in a holy opportunity to place value, hope, and God's love in the spirit of a child.
But God says, "No it's not too much for Me. So believe. I've given you a spirit not of timidity, but of power, love, and self discipline. Follow Jesus and together we will serve."