Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Word 2011: Trust

Happy New Year!

New Year's 2010, instead of making resolutions, I started choosing a single word for the year. I first read about this practice on Compassion International's blog, through an article written by Dan Britton. You can read his article on my last One Word post here. If you'd still like to adopt this practice yourself, it's not too late!

Last year, my One Word was "unshakable." I chose this word with Hebrews 12:27-29 specifically in mind:
Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."
The promise of "receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken," is a bittersweet one for, as we see in verses 26 & 27, it comes on the heels of a promise that God will "shake not only the earth, but also heaven," and that this promise "indicates the removal of the things that are made." The promise of an unshakable kingdom comes at the cost of the destruction of everything else.

When I was praying over this word, God asked me over and over again,
"Will you let me shake your world so I can give you an unshakable kingdom?"
I decided, a bit cavalierly, I admit, that the answer was yes. So He did. Immediately, although so subtly that I missed the connection, He began to shake the foundation upon which I had built my life. My assumptions about myself, my understanding of God and His Word, the plans I had made for my life, my understanding of justification and grace, and the layers upon layers of soil that I had piled upon the wounds of my past, God shook them all down to the bare earth and then He began to dig through the very dirt. All the while, He kept asking me,
"Will you let me shake your world so I can give you an unshakable kingdom?" 
I admit I have not weathered the process with dignity and grace. I have stumbled and wandered, pathetically snatching at the things falling around me, and cried out angrily at God. I even pridefully denied the quaking world around me, trying desperately to prove that I had not built my world upon temporary "shakable" things.

You see, I've staked my entire Christian identity on the assumption that I built my "house" upon the Rock of Jesus. As God's tremors shook up my world, things began to fall over, things that I had thought were eternal but which, I soon discovered, were those things that were "made" as it says in verse 27. What does that say about my witness? What does that say about me?

It is heartbreaking to watch the things you have built turn into rubble, it is even more heartbreaking when those things are your very self. But,
"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." Psalm 127:1
The ultimate result is that I arrive here, on the first day of the 2011th year of our Lord, as a bare concrete slab surrounded by the wreckage that was my "self" on the first day of the 2010th. It is difficult to toss the rubbish away, I keep trying to salvage some of it to reconstruct my house, but it isn't the same. And honestly, I don't want it to be. 2010 Was not a very uplifting year for me, it was intensely humbling, but I wouldn't change it.

So, my One Word for 2011 is very much related to 2010:


As I prayed over this word, I heard God, again, asking me,
"Will you trust me? Will you trust me to rebuild your world as I would have it to be? Will you trust me to rebuild you?"
But I've learned from One Word 2010 and there will be no cavalier claims of faith and fearlessness this time. I can tell you honestly that the answer is, "no." No, I don't trust Him, I'm scared to death of what He'll build for me. I'm afraid that He's taken all my plans and dreams away and won't give them back. I'm afraid that He'll take me down a rocky, treacherous road and stand by as I stumble and fall. No, I don't trust Him, in truth, I'm terrified of Him. Oh, but I'd like to...

So, here's to trust. Here's to fearlessness. Here's hoping.


--Sarah Elizabeth


  1. Wow. What an amazing post. Thanks for being honest enough to say that no, you don't trust Him. It takes tremendous courage to say that.

    I hope that as the year goes on, it's easier for you. I'm not even to the point yet where I'm willing to try to trust, so congrats on making it that far.

  2. I admire your courage, and your honesty. Best wishes to you as you face the challenges of 2011.

    "Trust" is a good word for the year--a hard word, but a good one!

  3. Funny, I "stumbled" upon this from the Compassion blog. I have to tell you that I realized as I was reading your post that Trust is the word God is giving me this morning, too. I picked a personal word a few days ago that have to do with my bad habit of procrastinating. But it hit me this morning that my spiritual word for 2011 is also Trust. It came up in a devotion this morning, it came up again now...and I am realizing that God is speaking very directly to me today.

    I agree with you, it won't be easy. I let my frustrations get in the way of trusting God way too easily. But, even though I am a little nervous about it, I will trust in God.

    God bless you as you grow in your faith!

  4. Valerie, thank you so much! Believe me, that this honesty only comes after years of pretending to be "okay" when I'm not; I've been trying to do it myself for *years.* You just get sick of yourself after a while, you know?

    I'll be praying for you, that God shows Himself worthy of your trust. It could just be me, but it seems like this is the highest mountain we have to climb.

    Nina, again, thank you. I'm learning a new definition of "good." I truly do not enjoy learning to trust, its not fun, but, you're right, it IS good!

    Kelly, that's awesome! I am always trying to send love their way, so its incredibly humbling that Compassion led back to me.

    It's funny (and by funny I mean incredibly irritating) how often we try to control these things ( Usually God steps in and says, "That's nice, now here's what's REALLY going to happen." I'm glad you're hearing from Him and I'll be praying for you as you learn to trust Him as well!

  5. Thank you for sharing this. This is my first time coming across this and coincidentally, I did have a One Word theme that started since last year. Last year was Fearless. This year is Trust. A lot of what you shared clicked within the depths of my soul too. 2010 has been the biggest year of my life. God is definitely shaking up my world in ways never ever imagined and it’s been incredibly scary. Felt like everything that I know and believed in is all jumbled up now. Starting to rebuild this house from scratch, and there is nothing else for me to do except to Trust. Trust is really all I got now. Nothing else.

    It’s encouraging to me personally, to know that I am not alone. Thank you for sharing this. Really blessed and ministered deeply through this post.

    Let’s keep learning how to trust. Even when it’s difficult to.

    Our Father is with us.


  6. Thank you for sharing Lina.

    I'm sorry for the fear and confusion I know you must be feeling, but I am excited that God DOES have something real, solid, and true for your life and mine, something eternal and unshakable.

    If I can tell you anything that I've learned (and am continuing to learn) it is that it is okay to be confused and a little lost. You don't have to always know everything and you don't have to have it all together.

    You can't rush what God is going to do and you can't force His hand, you'll only exhaust and frustrate yourself, all you can do wait, breath, and listen.

    Praying for you :)
    Sarah Elizabeth