Friday, December 22, 2017

That One Word Thing.

Every year I have a group of friends that is insanely dedicated to picking out and praying over one word to encompass, shape, and influence the coming year. These friends plan to cling to their word, to think over what it means, hoping to make great progress in whatever that word is. I've seen friends pick words like Faith, Bravery, Hope, or Present, and I don't doubt that these are great ideals to embrace. Still, I felt like it was a little too cheesy for my serious self.

I'm wondering if you can see where this is going. I saw more and more friends choosing their words for this year and I continued to roll my eyes. Terrible, I know. And it's just like God to suddenly put a word on my heart and get my thoughts rolling it over and over again in my mind.

I was initially resistant because I want more than to just pick a word and think about it. I want it to impact my entire year. I want to learn what it really means and how it should shape my life. And then I got a wild idea, and I'm obsessing over it like you wouldn't believe.

So to clarify, yes, I jumped on this One Word train. One morning, after being totally judgmental about someone else's word choice, I suddenly thought of the word "called" and have not been able to get it out of my mind. But I plan to do much more than think or pray over this word, though those are both valuable and important things to do. Ready for the big plan? I'm still not completely sure how this will all go down, and my plans are sure to change along the way, but as of now, here is what I am going to do.

Each month I will focus on a separate facet of what it means to be Called. Often, when we think of our "calling," it feels very vague, mysterious, clouded in wonder and hope, but always feeling a little bit out of our grasp or comprehension. We spend countless hours fantasizing over this "calling" while constantly being told that when we know exactly what "it" is we will understand our place in this world. But how does that help us live today? Should all our focus really be on finding out what this special "calling" is? Or are there other ways to figure it out without being too self-absorbed and miss out on other opportunities?

The truth is we are Called to many things. And for the most part, they are all something to do, someone to be, or something to receive. So I've picked out 12 different "callings" and I am going to hash out a new one every month. I'll give you the big reveal January 1st and then at the end of each month I'll share what I'm learning, along with some questions to help you work through this process right along with me. My hope is that during each month I will grow more and more deeply in my convictions, in my knowledge of who I am supposed to be, how I am supposed to live, and be better at trusting God with all of the circumstances of my life. Ultimately, I want to understand God better and live for Him more freely, with more reckless abandon and confident happiness. Sounds pretty lovely, right?

Here is how you can do this with me!

First off, subscribe to my monthly newsletter and you'll be reminded about the new facet of being Called we'll be working through that month. I know, maybe you already signed up for my newsletter and have only received one; that is completely my fault. Doing all this writing, tutoring, homeschooling at a new level, and Fall sports put me in a bad place, a place where only the absolutely most important things in my life got done. I'm still figuring out what gives me life and energy, and I am making better decisions about what I can or can't do. None-the-less, if you sign up for my newsletter, you WILL get to be a part of these 12 Months of Called.

Next, check in on my blog every month. If I were you, I'd even get a cheap notebook and write down some of the questions and thoughts you have along the way. I'll be sharing how I answer my own questions, but maybe God will be speaking to you in a different way, and chances are, you'll want to remember that.

Here are some of the types of questions I'll be asking:

- How does understanding this Call more deeply help me live better?
- How does knowing this Call change my life-goals?
- How does living by this Call change the way I should act?
- Is the way I am acting right this second in line with what I know?

These are healthy things to ask when you are learning anything, but I think it's especially important when it comes to understanding what we are Called to be, to do, and to receive. Calling is a lot less mysterious and far more practical than we make it out to be. I'm learning that God doesn't want to keep me in the dark about how I am supposed to live and what I am supposed to pursue, and I'm thrilled to be headed down this path of better understanding what it means to be Called.

Lastly, join our Facebook Group. I will post links to the blog posts and probably do a few giveaways too :) It will likely be the same content, but more personal interaction will be happening there.

As a little Christmas gift I will give you a hint before I wrap this up. In January, we'll explore the ultimate calling we have as Christians: to know God and enjoy Him forever. I'm convinced this doesn't just mean in eternity. Jesus brought the Kingdom to earth and we are meant to live in the enjoyment of His promises and presence here today too! From February on, we'll look at the smaller pieces under that big call, thinking through what kind of people we are called to be, how we are called to act toward others, and the different things God calls us to receive as gifts from Him. As we get going, I am convinced that all of these make a difference not just in our lives overall, but they shape individual moments in our days.

This is what I'm after; knowing God's Call in such a way that I can live with complete confidence, genuine joy, and perpetual peace.

Again, here is the link to sign up for my newsletter. I am excited to explore this with friends and sisters, with people who want to know the Lord better and are ready to seek Him out. His promises of wisdom and being found are what I will be clinging to in all of this (Deut. 4:29, Jer. 29:13, Matt. 4:7, Acts 17:27, James 1:5-8). Remember these as you pray and get ready for a New Year, and remember you are not going at it alone!

So who is with me? Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and tell me what you hope to find along this journey together. And in case you aren't excited yet, you just wait! I'm pretty sure my level of excitement is enough for at least 10 people :)

Merry Christmas, and see you January 1st!