Bonnie Gray, the author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace, encourages her readers to ask God for a ‘word’ at the beginning of each New Year.
When I discovered Bonnie’s writings last year, I tried this and the word I received was ‘rest’. And much to my surprise, I actually have been learning to rest. I’ve learned that I can stop toiling at night – that not every hour has to have some pre-determined idea of productivity in it. I’ve learned that I like to rest. It’s not painful any more. And I’m growing in my ability to rest in Him and to rely on His time tables and not my own. The mantra’s ‘this to shall pass’ and ‘if it’s meant to get done, it will get done’ have been a solace to me. I have seen the truth in these ideas and by allowing them to be true, I have gained greater freedom from worry.
This year, Bonnie made the suggestion again to ask the Lord for a word for 2015. So I did. And at first I heard only silence. But I kept asking. And eventually a word came to mind. A word, I promptly dismissed. However, it pursued me. Nagging at me. And my response? “I don’t want that word! Bonnie’s word for 2015 is ‘Beloved’. I want a word like that. One that makes me feel special and loved.”
I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and the word debate was still going on in my mind. I was telling God that I didn’t like or want the word he gave me.
The word was ‘quiet’.
Weeks had gone by and here I was still arguing with God over the very thing I had asked for. Sitting in church that day though, I started to be honest about why I didn’t want it.
I told the Lord, “Quiet is a weak word. I want a word that makes me feel better, stronger, loved….. ‘quiet’ isn’t going to do that.” And as I sat there, worries flooded my mind.
And God in his grace, gave me a nudge. I was overwhelmed by my worries and in that moment, I took my word and I spoke it to my worries. “QUIET!” And like the vaporous things worries are, they vanished. Gone. And I felt still.
And in that moment, I realized how foolish I had been. Quiet is a weak word? No. It’s full of power and strength. It’s an incredible gift. God had quieted storms and water. He spoke quiet into people’s hearts and minds and bodies. I was humbled by my foolishness and God’s kindness.
A short time later, I came down with a stomach bug. My body was NOT quiet. It was chaotic and out of control. I tried my quiet word again. And it did nothing. And I learned something. God reminded me that his gift is not a magic talisman. There was nothing wrong in trying to speak quiet into my body. But my disappointment in it not ‘working’ was where the learning needed to happen. Had it worked I might have been inclined to try that word in every situation. God was telling me that the power in the word only came from him. The quiet that He is offering is still bigger than I fully understand.
So, I’m trying to be more open now. To see what the Lord will do with this word in my life in 2015. He and I both know very well, that I have a heart and body and mind that desperately need quieting.
I encourage you to ask for a word…..and to learn from my mistake. Don’t fight it, if you get one. Accept it as a remarkable gift from the One who knows you better than you know yourself.