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Today, my talented friend, Marian Beaman, summed up her word for 2020, Beauty, before she shared her word for 2021: Beyond. Instead of focusing on what 2020 wasn’t, she masterfully looked at what it was. I encourage you to read it, for I believe there is always beauty if one chooses to look.

It’s about perspective.

Last year, I started the year with enthusiasm. Having quit my job two months earlier, I felt I was running toward something new and wonderful. A new job? Ministry opportunity? Wherever it was, I was running forward. I latched onto the concept of running with intensity, choosing “Finish line” as my “word of the year”. I even had a theme song.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Corinthians 9:24

I spent the better part of January grieving for my job, and feeling a little lost. It’s hard to run when you’re heart is in your throat.

I began February strong, until the rug was pulled out from underneath me, and I ended up flat on my face. I crawled into God’s lap so He could hold me, and we fought fear in the dark.

In March, Covid hit and the lockdowns began.

Instead of running toward a finish line, I seemed to spend more time just sitting still. In retrospect though, I was running. I was just running to God. I ran to Him with hurts, large and small. I ran to Him with fears and insecurities, needs, questions (so many questions)! Sometimes I ran to Him because it was the sweetest place to be. I knew there was joy and peace, and beauty to sustain even the longest days.

Last Fall, I joined a Zoom Bible study, and I look forward to it resuming next week, even though it means daily homework. (Bonus: I get to see my Mom online!) This week, as I pondered my “word” for the week, the only one that came to mind was “lost”. Probably it was the best word to describe how I felt, but it isn’t the right word. I know that.

I started my homework for the study yesterday. It began in 1 Kings 9. King Solomon had completed his commission to build the Temple and his palace in Jerusalem. It took him 20 years. Perhaps after spending so many years focusing on such a great undertaking, King Solomon felt a little lost too.

There were a number of reasons that I felt it was time to leave my job, a job I loved. One of the reasons that I remained so long was that I had been given a commission, and I remained until its completion. I’m thankful it didn’t take 20 years.

Then God spoke to him, reminding him of the promise God had made 20 years earlier, if Solomon remained faithful and obedient.

Faithful ˈfāth-fəl
1. Steadfast in affection or allegiance; loyal
2: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty; conscientious
3: given with strong assurance; binding
4: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original

merriam-webster.com

Solomon was never given such a large undertaking again. Instead, He lived His remaining days ruling His kingdom faithfully and wisely, according to God’s statutes. Perhaps 2021 will be filled with new opportunities and adventures. Or maybe just more challenges. Or perhaps nothing spectacular at all. My kingdom is small. My impact on the world is small. And I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing, but I know who I am called to be: faithful.

It’s a very good word.

And there’s a loyalty that’s deeper than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through
And if I can’t, let me fall on the grace that first brought me to You

Rich Mullins, If I Stand