I am going to assume you want your year full of favor, prosperity, impossible dreams fulfilled, joy, and to be walking in purpose and fulfillment. Who doesn’t? None of us start our year out writing disappointment, setbacks, death, sickness, and unhappiness on our new year resolution list.
Often we believe we have no control over how our year will turn out or even which direction it will go. Life just happens, right?
At the beginning of 2016, I was seeking the Lord about what he wanted to speak over my year and he continued to whisper the word, “Rest.”
“Not rest again, Lord?” I was sure I had mastered “rest.” Especially since God had spoken “rest” over my 2014 year too.
“God, I want a better word. I am finally doing my thing. Teaching Bible studies. Getting Noticed. Speaking and leading women. I am resting, not striving. My desires are being fulfilled. Please don’t make me lay this all down.”
And so my word for last year was “rest,” and to say my 2016 was a rough blow is an understatement. I couldn’t have known what was ahead or the downward spiral of fear and loneliness I would experience. No one warned me moving our family away from our church community and friends and placing our four children in school after seven years of homeschooling would cause a shaking of my identity in Christ. Thirty-seven years old and I was having trouble knowing who I was and what my purpose was.
When He spoke rest over me, I couldn’t have known it would be the very thing that would heal the deep wounds of betrayal I felt from trusted friends. Rest is what I did to heal. Rest is what I did to forgive. Long walks with only Jesus. Quiet baths with tears running down my cheek, clinging to the hem of Jesus. Basking in the summer sun, surrendering my desires and dreams. My word brought peace when nothing seemed to make sense. Recovering my very soul created a solid foundation of truth and love in the Father and birthed a confidence in my true identity in Christ. I now can draw from that foundation to minister to others.
I couldn’t have known or even began to guess what was in-store, all I had was a word Holy Spirit had spoken. Never underestimate the power of a Holy Spirit word. If you haven’t asked Him for a word, it is not too late…go ahead.
Adhering to our word is what brings hope into our darkness.
They say there are 365 days to have the best year yet, except when you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you. Then it seems like your year goes on and on with no end in sight. You can read more about my 2016 January here.
Your whole year can feel like you are just trying to stay afloat. You’re doing everything you can just to survive a storm without drowning. The truth is, even though this life will have trials, we can’t afford to sit back ideal. We have the power, with our 2017 word, to allow these tests to either leave us lifeless without purpose or to increase our depth and intimacy in Christ, allowing Him to use them for his purpose and glory.
“God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 MSG).
Trying to stay ahead of all the negative thoughts screaming, “2017 will just be the same as all the other years” can be exhausting. Whole decades can be marked by failure, at least that is how you may feel.
When God has given us a word how do we get a handle on the negative thoughts?
When God speaks a word over your year, take it to heart. Heed to it. Take hold of it, like it is life or death. Write it down. Circle it. Look verses up about it. Celebrate it. Use it in warfare. Keep your word in the forefront of your mind all year long. Especially when the enemy attempts to steal, kill, and destroy.
Our word could be what gives us the strength to stand when faced with opposition.
“What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
When we treasure the words, Holy Spirit speaks, it sharpens our spiritual senses to experience more of Him.
The best way to prepare for what’s ahead—is to cling to what He says now. When we treasure His Word, we can trust Him with the results.
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The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.