For a few years now, I’ve chosen a word to guide me as I begin a new year. Sometimes the word comes easily, sometimes I struggle for weeks, searching for a word or concept that will inspire me.
My word for 2016 was ‘discover’, and let me tell you, it was a doozy. Last year was a challenge from the get-go, and discovering the meaning and blessing in all of it was often a huge challenge. We had two car accidents, managed to stay married through a two-month kitchen renovation, several rounds of physical therapy for various ailments, and as you might already know, my father died.
Discover? Oh yeah, I discovered all right. I discovered my vast need for patience. I discovered that loss teaches many lessons, including the value and pain of grief, and the joy of realizing that my family is special and precious (special shout-out to my sisters Kitty, Mary and Liz). And not least, the lesson that life goes on even though our loved ones may not.
I think I’ll always keep ‘discover’ with me. It’s been such a big part of the past 365 days, it’s become a good friend.
But now I look to 2017, just a few weeks old, and I wonder. What word does God want to give me as I travel in this precious new year? Each day is a gift, every minute a love offering from the Creator to his children. How do I make the most of it all?
And then it comes to me. My new word for 2017? “Now.”
The key to living a life that is both physically and spiritually powerful is living in the present. Right here. Right now. The past happened before now, I can’t change it. The future is beyond now, draped in fog. I can’t begin to guess what’s in store.
But now? That’s where I’m living, and where God meets me. In every task, every joy, every challenge.
Living fully in the present won’t be an easy proposition. There have been plenty of times I’ve walked away from the pressing needs of the day. I’d much rather put that off until tomorrow. Or allow myself to get too busy, running myself ragged instead of giving myself the gift of slowing my day and my mind to pay attention to ‘now’.
The glory and joy and wonder of God, and his people, is here for me every minute of the day. If I don’t remain attentive to what’s happening, I’ll miss my opportunity to witness the Lord’s gifts and presence.
I’ll miss the opportunity to shine in his wonderful light.
Why should I settle for only a rare glimpse of that light, when there’s a flood of it just waiting to fill me…now?
This year, my hope is to live my life. Really experience it, staying awake to the gifts and grace of my every day, my every minute.
2017 has already begun. There’s no better time for me to start than…well… Now.
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