February 8, 2011

My One Word Fell Flat (or so I thought)

Last year I decided that instead of making new year's resolutions which never seem to come to fruition anyway, I would participate in the My One Word movement.  I chose a word.  I chose a word really without much thought or prayer.  It was the most logical word to me at the time because I knew what I wanted out of 2010.  It didn't seem to be something I needed to pray a lot about or mull over.  I knew what I needed, and what I needed was to be more industrious with less luxurious me time.  So, the word industrious was slapped on as a label for 2010.  I even had some wonderful verses to go along with it.  My intentions were good, but God knew a whole lot more about what 2010 would hold than I could have ever anticipated; it ended up being the least industrious year of my life, at least for me.  One wrench after another kept getting thrown into the mix of my well planned life, and I just could not, no matter how I tried, accomplish anything.  Projects that were undone in January of 2010 are still undone.  Boxes on my to do list are still unchecked.  The faster I went the behinder I got as they say.  I tried to grab minutes from every corner of my 24 hour day as the demands on me seemed to keep piling higher and higher.  I began to wonder if God was playing with me.  You know, trying to show me that he can put a kink into my plans when I make them without his ordination.

But with the close of the old year, and the peace and hope that comes from the anticipation of the new, I look back and now realize that God had a plan for that word all along.  It just wasn't the plan I had.  He took that word and made it his.  What I intended for me, he used to feed his sheep.  My life over the past year has been consumed by the pains and needs of other people.  When I picked the word industrious for my life, I meant to accomplish tasks and projects that could be marked off on a list. I meant for that word to be for me, but instead, God was the one that was industrious.  He was industrious in the lives of those around me, and he used me to accomplish it.  I don't feel I handled the year well at all.  It is tough to attend to the needs of others constantly, day in and day out.  It is wearisome to be an empty cup, but know that there are still thirsty people around you.  The stress and strain of it all got to me more than once.  I expressed some of that here, but not the true selfish, ugliness of how I felt at times.  In retrospect I wish I would have been fully conscious of what God was doing; how he was using me to calm fears, sooth pain, ease tension, heal, and nurture.  I should have know, but I was blinded by what I wasn't accomplishing rather then seeing what he was accomplishing.

The quote at the top of my blog is my favorite quote.  It is how I define my life. 
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain." ~ Emily Dickinson
Helping robins back into their nest is what brings me the greatest joy.  That was what this year was filled with; one homeless, broken-winged robin after another limping through my life.  But because of my single minded focus for this year; I almost missed the big picture.  I almost missed how those little moments of joy and sighs of relief were making it quite an industrious year for my Lord.  There are robins in nests and robins in flight today because God worked hard this year.  In spite of myself; I was his hands and feet.  All of us are if we claim to be his friend. 

I've learned that because I am Christian, every moment of everyday is clay in the hands of a living, loving God.  He isn't lazy.  He works hard.  And I'm right in the middle of the mix in real time.  No do overs.  No rewind button.  So, I find I've come full circle.  The subtitle of my blog says,
 "A defined life is a life that has a deliberate form.  It is not passive or without intent."
That's what I wanted this blog to be about.  I think it's working for me because I keep coming back to this simple truth that life is lived moment by moment and what we do with these moments matters.

I'm thankful to God for bringing me back to were I belong, right here in this moment.

You'd think after what I learned I would choose another word with fear and trepidation! And yet, I have gone into it with much more prayer and thought as to what it is God wants for my life and what changes need to be made so he can continue to be industrious and gracious through my life.  We, God and I, have picked a new word.  I'll share that with you in another post this week . . . .


  1. I so appreciate your candid evaluation about your word and God's plans. Unlike many people who make goals and have hopes for the year, I have found my own life to be full of unpredictable turns and bends -- every year. Looking forward to reading about what you and God have decided for 2011.

  2. Stephani, what a beautiful transparent post this is. Thank you so much for sharing the lessons He has taught you as you've gone full circle.

    Will be looking forward to hearing what He has in store for you in 2011.

  3. What a heartfelt post! Your thoughts are so profound and so true. I love your quote and I know that you were a real blessing to those that you reached out to this past year.

    I look forward to reading about your "word" for 2011.

    Sweet blessings to you!

  4. Stephani, how wonderful to look back on a year and see the wonder and fullness of God! There is no greater joy than being His vessel and to be able to remember all the ways you've blessed those around you...you are a rich woman! Yes, every moment is His and I'm learning to pay attention. You encourage my walk, and I appreciate your wisdom so much.
    Thank you for all this, friend!

  5. I hear you, Stephani. Your openness to the Sovereign Lord flows from this post.

    Looking forward to hearing your word for this year...


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