Do you’ve an irrational fear? I’ve an irrational fear of going mad. When? At the age of 40. Why? Because of the so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ that many people talk about and fear of. So I went for counselling and at the end of my first session with my counsellor, she left me with a word – FAITHFULNESS.
We sing it, quote the verses and even pray for more of it. But it has always been a vicious cycle – I don’t have enough faith, I need more faith, I’ve faith again and then I don’t have enough faith again and it goes on and on.
So I asked God why “FAITHFULNESS”. First, the famous hymn comes to mind, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” – It is not my faith but His faith.
Thereafter the famous verse comes up:
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:20 NLT
Jesus already knows and recognises that we don’t have enough faith. But even with faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move a mountain – It is not by our faith but by His power.
Finally a famous encouragement:
Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God.
1 Samuel 23:16
There is no mention of encouraging David to have more faith but to stay strong in God and other translations used “strengthened”. It is not more faith but be strengthened by God.
Life is not a self-focused faith journey. Life is a GOD-FAITH journey – a journey where we are constantly looking away from ourselves and towards God, moving from our fears to focusing on God’s faithfulness. FAITH is my word for the year and may our faithful God strengthen us throughout this year.
In 2018, I envisioned the word, ‘Flowing” my life, in 2019, “Gratitude” and then in 2020, “Rest”. The word for 2021 is kind of unusual, because it has been on my mind for the most of 2020. On New Year’s Day, many people made comments like ‘good riddance to 2020’ but for me, my word for 2021 seemed to be a continuation from the events from 2020. It’s like the work in 2020 is not over and God still wants me to focus on this in 2021.
The word, “listen”, has been nudging me since the beginning of 2020. That was when I was working on illustrating my first children’s book “I Hear You”. It is a book about connecting with a child’s emotional world. Having been a mum for 10 years, I still have much to learn in parenting. The process of illustrating the book, inspired me even more to be mindful of hearing my children’s emotions.
Interestingly last November, when I was preparing for a children’s process art workshop about “I Hear You”, I was reminded of the Chinese word for listen, 聽, which shows the symbols of an ‘ear, ‘king’, ’10 eyes’ and ‘one heart’ – perhaps to mean “to listen to my King wholeheartedly with my ears and eyes”. And the timing couldn’t be more apt that on the last Sunday of 2020, I read this beautiful verse in church:
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth
Both words “hearken” and “diligently” are the same Hebrew word, “shama”, which means to listen. May 2021 be a year that I listen and listen continually to His word wholeheartedly with my ears and eyes and may that listening inspire me to obey His voice and listen to my children’s hearts.
Up till 2010, I’ve always made a point to make new year resolutions. Then my firstborn came along in December 2010 and I have stopped since.
With children in my life, the years didn’t seem to have a clear start and a stop for me. The children are growing, developing and changing constantly, continuously. Every new year’s eve, we still get them to bed on time. There is no party, no watching the night, not even a countdown as we will be in bed by 11pm. My identity has been so enmeshed with the children that resolutions made on my end just wouldn’t make any sense.
Perhaps a word to usher in the new year would be more apt. A word to bring hope, inspire, encourage in the days ahead.
My word for this year, is ‘flowing’ – flowing with the spirit, flowing to rest, flowing in the unforced rhythms of grace. What would be your word for the new year?