A friend asked who had, instead of resolutions, a word for 2015. Initially I didn't reply, since I hadn't thought about much of anything for 2015 except for losing this "happy weight" gained from a decadent honeymoon and a husband who's a good cook. As I began thinking more about what I wanted out of 2015, and also trying to discern what the Lord might want for me, I first considered the word "ponder".
For the last 5-6 years, I have read through the Bible each year. Initially, I did it so that I would have structure for my scripture reading and a working knowledge of the whole Bible, not just the parts that I liked. I highly recommend reading through the Bible (not necessarily in a year) at least once. However, for my personality, the focus can shift from knowing God more deeply through His Word to GETTING THROUGH THIS BIBLE, come what may, no matter what, just so I can say that I did it.
My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with his family, including his two young nieces. Watching them open gifts was a study in contrasts. The five-year-old had as her goal opening the presents. All of them. As quickly as possible. And then making sure everyone else had opened all their presents, as well. The three-year-old, however, would open a present, take a good look at it, start playing with it, and forget about all the other presents (until helpful big sister reminded her).
My approach to both the Bible and life is all too frequently the same as my older niece's approach to present opening (and yes, I, too, am an older sister). I don't want to stop and think deeply and deliberately about what the Bible says, or to spend time figuring out how I feel about uprooting and moving and starting a new life (I get as far as "sad," cry, and then I'm done). I don't want to take time and make serious goals for 2015 for my marriage and my life.
As I was thinking and praying about how to structure my Bible reading this year, I really felt like I needed to slow down so that I could ponder what I was reading, and not just fly through it. "Ponder" seemed like a good word for the year. But then, as I thought about other goals, the word "deepen" came to mind. I want to deepen my relationship with the Lord. I want to deepen my relationship with Paul. The last thought is trickier. I need to deepen my roots in Ohio, though I may not really want to.
I just spent a week in Missouri with friends and family and friends who are family. It was like a piece of heaven to be with people who know me already and who love me already and to connect with them and enjoy their company. I treasure the time, I treasure the relationships, and I am committed to nurturing those relationships the best I can over time and distance. And yet I am called and committed to be here, in Ohio, with my husband, and to make a new life with him. My challenge is to determine how to both put down roots and yet stay connected with friends from other places. The two are not mutually exclusive; yet somehow I feel disloyal to think about making a new life. I also feel tired. It's hard to start over with friends when you are in your forties. People already have their friends and their history. Nevertheless, I feel prompted to pursue building friendships here.
Slowing down and going deep are not natural for me. Yet I am believing (as best I can) that taking time to read one book of the Bible at a time without a schedule (gasp) will lead to more understanding of God. Taking time to spend with my husband in the small moments, by turning away from Facebook and HGTV will increase our intimacy. Being brave and making the effort to connect with and get to know new people will help Ohio feel more like home.
Anyone else have a word for 2015?