Looking Back

“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.”

Proverbs 8:34

Listen.  Last year around this time I was racking my brain for a word for 2015.  It was the thing to do.  Instagram was a buzz with people picking words for the year.  Big profound post were written, images were curated, and as usual people were ready to start 2015 fresh.  It’s always exciting beginning a new year and ending an old one.  There have been years I don’t want to end and years I’ve wept with joy at the opportunity to start over, to forget what was and move forward.  Not to be outdone by all of this “word of the year” stuff I decided to seek the Lord out and see what He wanted me to learn in 2015.  I was expecting something profound,  beautiful, and original.  Something that would deeply impact peoples hearts and get lots of heart eyed emojis!  Instead the word that kept popping up into my head over that week was Listen.  I remember thinking “Listen Lord?  Really?”  Instantly a few of the really beautiful posts I had read recently popped up into my head.  This wasn’t like those.   This was simple, straight forward, something most people already know they’re supposed to do.  This wasn’t at all what I had in mind.  So naturally I tried to think of something else.

It wasn’t that I really minded the word it was just I was sure I could think of something better but as usual I was wrong.  It’s silly really.  Nobody needs a word to sum up their hopes and expectations for the year ahead.  I didn’t need to compete with all of those wonderful people I followed who were deep and profound.  I’m just not.  I try, oh boy do I try, but great expositions on scripture and incredible fresh insights from the Word of God just don’t flow from these fingers.  I’m simple.  I used to think it was a bad thing to be simple.   I used to think that in order to be effective I had to always have the right words (which seldom happens).  I thought I needed to be relevant and fresh.  That if I could only think and write like many of the authors, bloggers, and IG posters I follow then I could finally touch peoples lives and encourage their hearts.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:14).  I believe that God uses simple, humble, even foolish things to confound the wise (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).  That He knows the depths of hearts, He understands our needs in a way no one else does, and the really foolish thing is to pretend like I know better than He does.

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So, long story short, I chose the word Listen.  I decided to give up on my plans and go with God’s and am incredibly thankful I did.  The word listen this year was a constant reminder especially when I was struggling.  God brought that word to mind and then led me to His word.  He helped me to remember that true wisdom is from Him and when I am stuck in a hopeless situation, when I feel deserted, the word of God is like water for my soul.  I needed that reminder.

This year was not easy.  I am glad for the opportunity to start fresh but I am also thankful for all of the things God taught me.  If it wasn’t for His encouragement to listen I would have never thought I could memorize an entire book of the bible and yet through Him I did.  I memorized the book of James and am half way through the book of Philippians.  I understand now the importance of carrying the word of God in our hearts.  Many of the verses I memorized just “happened” to be exactly what I needed that day.  This year God helped me to see past my own foolish pride and begin to think like He does.  I am not special, I am broken, forgetful, and oblivious.  But God is good and He fills up and heals my own brokenness.  He reminds me of His truth if I am only willing to listen.

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