Well here we are, the end of a another year. Another trip around the sun. There are so many things to reflect on as I look back on what 2018 had. I can say that there were so many good things that happened through the course of the year. I’ve been able to cultivate some deeper and closer relationships in my life, which has been so fruitful. I’ve learned more and more the deep value of what it means to not go it alone and to have others in your corner; like-hearted men who are moving in the same direction and have to fight through the same crap to get there.
At the same time, with so much of the good, there have also been a number of challenges, not just for me and my family, but for so many around us. I remember over the summer many of us thinking that there just seemed to be increased suffering and difficulty for many, with losses of loved ones, financial difficulty, job losses, and more. 2018, for many, was certainly a year with added challenges.
At the end of last year, I began a new exercise, that my buddy, Dallas had recommended. It was very new to me. This was praying and asking God for a word or words for the coming year. The word that I continued to receive for 2018 was Intimate. With the busyness of the prior year, finishing my Masters Degree, etc, I felt God was leading me to a place to seek more time with Him and focus on cultivating a deeper intimacy with Him. I can see why He gave me this word, because this year brought challenges that at times would try to pull me away from that busyness. It became a year of learning new practices that would allow me to focus more on time with God through the day-to-day grind. Once such practice was just being outside everyday. I moved more of my workouts outside, my prayer time outside, and through my workdays I made it a point to always stopping throughout the day to just step outside. There was something about the natural environment that just invited His presence. Just a few weeks ago, I was outside, I could just feel God’s presence overwhelming me, as if to say, “this is what I’ve been after in you.” Hadn’t felt that kind of embrace since He met me in the mountains in January 2015.
So now, we are moving to 2019. Again, I revisited this exercise of seeking God for words for the coming year. It’s wild, because He actually revealed this back in September before I had even asked, but as the year has drawn to a close, it has become more evident. God’s words for me for 2019 have been to stay “Rooted and Steadfast.” I remember when He first revealed those words. I was down in Florida, sitting on the shoreline of Santa Rosa Sound at dawn. As i looked at this tree that was rooted in the salt water, I could hear those words and couldn’t help but smile.
I went back to investigate these words further, though I was pretty sure I knew what they meant. Rooted means to establish deeply and firmly. In Scripture, Paul writes in Colossians 2, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (emphasis mine). So for me it was to continue to stay firm in Christ and allowing my roots to continue to grow deeper as the soil of my heart continues to be cultivated.
Steadfast means to be resolutely firm and unwavering. Psalm 57:7 says, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.” Proverbs 20:28, “Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love, his through is upheld” (emphasis mine). For me here, I see God telling me to not allow things of this world and schemes of the evil one to move my direction. To keep firm and be unwavering in seeking a deeper life with Him and in and pursuing the mission He has laid before me, living out my calling which is to let the world feel the weightiness of who I am as and image bearer of God, allowing His glory to show through my life which is the glory He has bestowed upon me.
As this year closes out and we ring in the new year, I reflect more on being rooted and steadfast. Just like being more intimate, it does not stop with just that year. It is a posture of continued growth so will build into the next year and next and so forth. I’m excited about what 2019 will be bringing. There a lot of new things on the horizon, which I will write about soon, but God is certainly moving me and those with me in a direction that we just can’t ignore and its making impacts for His Kingdom. I think God also gave these words because as we move forward, we may encounter various challenges and opposition, but this is reminder to stay rooted in Him and steadfastly firm in our direction.
So what are your words for 2019? Have you thought to ask God about this. Take this question to Him. Simply ask, “God, what words do you have for me for the coming year?” Don’t force the answer, but just be willing to have your heart open to whatever He may reveal.
I wish you all very happy and blessed New Year. See you in 2019!!!