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 127:1The 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.