I don’t have a word for 2014.
I have waited with expectancy, I have prayed, I have journaled, I have looked back over my year and ahead for the next and still: nothing.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
Over the years, I’ve had my life changed by the One Word project. I look back on my years of Enough and Moments and, most particularly, my year of Fearless as real God-inspired turning points in my life. I won’t ever be the same.
Last year, I didn’t have the big lightening moment of just knowing what my word should be. So I picked Light all on my own and I’ve got to be honest with you: it has meant next to nothing to me this year. There have been few times – precious few – when I really felt connected to that phrase.
I know why, of course: I chose that word, it did not choose me.
So this year, I’ve been stressing out about it. I didn’t want to just pick a word for the sake of a word but I felt weird about it. I mean, I do this every year! This is my thing! God always meets me here! What is up? I began to worry that my lack of a word last year and now this year was indicative of something wrong.
I took my fears to my friend, Kelley, and she helped me find some clarity on the topic. It seems that just when I think I’ve got a pattern established, just when I have a formula, just when I think to myself, “this is how it always works” for encountering the Spirit, God likes to disrupt my patterns. We don’t get formulas. We don’t get cookie cutter spirituality. And sometimes what was once a profound place of change and growth becomes a chain instead of liberation.
One of my complaints with being a charismatic is that we tend to be people who say, “Remember when God moved here? That was amazing. I wish it was like that still.” We long for the days that have gone by, the days when we felt the Spirit differently or in a way that we expected. Whether it’s looking back on an amazing revival or a season of renewal, whether it was a season of growth as a church or as an individual, we tend to romanticize the ways God has met us in the past and long for the past until we forget: God is doing a new thing.
It seems that the pillar of fire has moved on from the place where I set up camp to experience God and now I have a choice: I can stay here and mourn the loss of my fire or I can pack up and march out into the new place, following the fire where it goes.
I’m choosing to march. One foot in front of the other, faithful, steady, on the path I was shown.
May there be daily bread here, too.
I don’t know why I didn’t really have a word last year. I don’t know why I don’t have a word this year.
But I know I’m done with trying to manufacture the Spirit or conjure up an experience that simply isn’t there.
I’m done with manipulating myself or the people around me. Faking it isn’t an option.
I’m done with looking longingly back on the ways where God has met me in the past, wishing it was like that still.
God has moved on from this place for me and so instead of trying to create my own fire or pretend the fire is here still, I’m going to try to follow to the new place, wherever He leads.