Ah, the word of the year. Such a great way to say, “You know what? I stink at resolutions. I will make only one, and it will be somewhat vague in the form of a word so that no one can say I actually didn’t do it.”
Still, I tried. My word of 2016 was Seek. It encompasses phrases God kept putting on my heart over time: watch, pray, seek, find, wait, hope, look. All of them calling me to seek him more deeply.
To be honest, initially I thought it just meant I should pray more. But I’ve learned that seeking is about more than just time with God. It’s about how I seek and what I seek as well. So though I feel I still have such a long way to go to be someone who seeks earnestly, this is what I have learned this year about seeking:
We will not seek if we do not believe we lack something. If we lack something, we will not seek it outside ourselves until we trust we will find what we need. This year God revealed to me how much I can live from the lie that I have to rely on myself, that no one’s going to rescue me. I try to be my own savior (super small s). The more I am aware of my desperate need for a Savior (giant S), the more I believe he longs to help me, and that he will fight for me, the more I will seek.
To do this requires hope, and hope is vulnerable. It opens us to disappointment, because God does always answer in the ways we think he should. He’s a lot like Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia-you never know when or how he will show up, but he will, because he is good. Seeking expectantly requires me to put my hope in his goodness.
We have to keep finding God over and over, in every circumstance, trial, doubt, and need. Our lives are meant to be lived with a posture of seeking. We stay aware of our deep needs and let them drive us to seek his strength. We look for him at work in the world. We watch for his goodness. We seek day after day, moment after moment, ways to put our hope back in him. The more we seek, the more we will find.
We seek his face
Honestly, this is the one that has been most challenging for me. This year God has led me to ask more audaciously, to depend on him more for areas where previously I was inclined to trust in my own meager resources. But this idea of seeking his face is to simply be with him in his presence, enjoying him for who he is and not what he gives. It’s not about prayer so much as it is about his presence.
God asks us to seek his face because we are his children and he wants to spend time with us. What?? Seriously, this blows my mind. I’m the poster child for doing over being, so I come to God with my lists and prayers and scripture I want to read, and I miss just being with him, looking at him face to face.
What I’ve realized this year is that God could answer all of my prayers. He could give me everything I want and I would not be satisfied, because what my soul is really seeking is him. I want to learn what it is to be a child sitting at his feet, content to simply be there with him, delighting in him and he in me. My next word of the year might need to be “sit” or “stay.” (Good Gina).
So what about you? Did you have a word of the year for 2016? How did it go? Did you see change in your life? I figure I still have 24 days to figure this out. Or a lifetime. Keep seeking, friends. He promises we’ll find him.
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29