At the end of each year/beginning of the new year for the last several years, I have decided upon a focus word or theme for the new year. It serves as something to anchor myself to given the things that are currently going on in my life and faith journey.
To be honest, I considered just skipping this undertaking this year, as I really had NO idea what that word looked like for me this year. I kept thinking about it, but just could not find anything that seemed to sum up where I was at. I had pretty much decided not to do it, until my coach challenged all of us in the coaching group to set an intention phrase or word. So, I prayed about it again, and out of nowhere it hit me. Yup, at the very last minute… Sometimes that’s just how God shows up. Out of nowhere, but always right on time. This is also a case in point for why I feel having a coach is so valuable. They push you to go a bit further and into the zone of growth.
OK, so no spoiler alert needed… You already knew from the title of the blog post that my word is faithful. I’m choosing faithful for several reasons:
First, because I want to be faithful in taking action on the small things and in each step as the Lord entrusts me with more. This year is a significant ‘new beginning’ scenario for me. I am no longer working a “9-5” job. Because of this, I am stepping outside of the security of a known paycheck (and embracing the need to keep myself to a more strict budget for the first time in a long time). I’m also leaving the comfort zone of knowledge in practicing medicine, and becoming like a new student again in areas I’m not as familiar with. Both the paycheck and the value I perceive to have in my competency at my job are not actually a sure foundation. The truth is that the only sure thing is being rooted in the Lord. I want to be faithful to surrendering my goals and dreams to the Lord and trusting His leading because then I know success will be a natural byproduct. As each next piece falls into place, I want to say that I was faithful with it. I want to know that I gave even the small things my greatest effort and attention, as they matter to the Lord.
“Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things.”
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10a NLT
Just like Zerubbabel, I know that I have to start small and lay a firm foundation in order to build upon it.
Second, as I mentioned, there’s a lot of new things up in the air. It is scary and uncomfortable. I want to focus on the fact that faithful is what the Lord has always been in the midst of chaos, doubt, and uncertainty. I will choose to look back on situations where He has shown Himself faithful and trust that He will do the same for me now and in the future.
Finally, I want to remain faithful, meaning full of faith. I want to believe the Lord for the big dreams He has placed in my husband’s heart and in my heart as we wait for them to come to pass. I want to speak words of life, truth, and faith over our situations, our plans, and our dreams. I also want to encourage others to be full of faith in the promises that God has placed ahead of them which is still yet to be fulfilled. These things will come to pass if we are faithful! They may be different than what we imagine, and come in a different time frame that what we expect, but it will always be in His perfect timing and even more amazing than we can imagine.
But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 ERV/AMP
“With God’s power working in us [to carry out His purpose], He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams].”
Ephesians 3:20 ERV/AMP
So let us be full of faith to the brim and ask great things, then watch Him exceed them as only He can! I believe He does this so that others will know it was never in my own power, but His.
On a related note… If you have an opportunity, I highly recommend that you watch and or listen to the sermon to start off your new year. It is longer than most, but if you listen to it in iTunes, you can increase the speed to 1.5-2. Also, no need to watch it, you can also just listen to the message while you’re doing chores around the house, driving around running errands. working out, putting on makeup, etc.
A few months ago, I switched from reading a passage a day in the New Testament to one in the Old Testament, and I cannot tell you how eye opening it has been to read through it again with a fresh perspective. There are so many lessons of faithfulness, and unfortunately also of unfaithfulness, demonstrated by the Israelites. I find it to be no coincidence that the Lord has led me to many sermons and podcasts on parallel topics over the course of time of reading the Old Testament. This was bar far one of the best!
This is the link to listen in iTunes (click from a mobile device, not a desktop):
1/ Do you ever choose a focus word or intention for the year? If so, what is yours this year?
2/ What is a time that the Lord showed Himself faithful to you in the midst of uncertain times? I’d love if you shared the testimony with us below!