Word of the Year 2018
There's something refreshing about the new year. Everything seems possible. All the things that went wrong in the year before seem a lot less like failures and a lot more like lessons. It's easy to make promises ourselves in this sweet time between Christmas and the New Year. It's a lot harder to keep them once, as Sam Hunt puts it, "the New Year withers away."
Last year, on January 1, I sat in church and listened to a sermon about New Year's Resolutions and why they always always seem to fail.
You see, the issue is that every year we tell ourselves that we're going to change, that this year is going to be the year. This is the year we are going to change our behavior. But guess what? Changing our behavior only gets us so far. Why? Because the issue isn't our behavior. It's our hearts.
In church that day, I asked God to show me what the issue in my heart was. I've spent all year trying to figure it out. And in November, God finally showed it to me.
He gave me this verse:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
That's not a fun verse.
It literally says that things will be worse before they get better.
Not the "you can do it" message I was looking for.
But as soon as I read it, something clicked.
Discipline was the heart issue I'd been asking for God to reveal. It was the core principle that caused my constant failures in my attempts to budget and lose weight and eat healthy and exercise and stay on top of my work and read my Bible consistently. Discipline, or my lack thereof, was the reason behind everything.
So my word of the year for 2018 is DISCIPLINE. It's the thing I want to work on. I always considered myself hard-working and disciplined, but God spent this year, literally from day 1, showing me the places where I'm not disciplined, where I need to exercise my least favorite fruit of the spirit (self-control).
What I wanted for all of the areas in my life where I struggle is a quick and permanent fix. God is showing me that this isn't how life works. For real, lasting change to happen, we have to work at it. We have to be willing to suffer now for a greater payoff later.
I'm leaning into the pain in the short term (you know, the pain of getting up at 6 am to go the gym, the pain of cooking dinner instead of eating out, the pain of tightening up my cash outflow) and trusting that the fruit will come. Seeds have to be planted before anything can grow.
2018 starts TODAY. What are you trying to change this year? How are you going to hold yourself accountable? How can I support you? Here's to hoping that 2018 is the year we finally lean in to the struggle and trust that God will turn it into something beautiful.