Determining the Lord’s focus word for me at the start of each year is usually a fun exercise. This year the process has been less fun and more a painful path to self-discovery.
My word is—drum roll, please—“listen.”
It’s not the word I wanted. I tried to ignore it. I picked and journaled about a different one. But “listen” kept popping up, sometimes several times a day, and I finally waved the white flag of surrender.
“Okay, okay,” I said to the Lord. “I get it. You want me to focus on my listening skills this year.” Three ways of doing so came to mind:
- Listen to others. Be fully present in a conversation. Be slow to speak and quick to hear what others say. (James 1:19)
- Listen to godly advice. Pay attention when given wise counsel. (Proverbs 19:20)
- Listen to God’s voice. Stay attuned whether He whispers or shouts. (Isaiah 55:3—“Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.”)
Here’s where the self-discovery part showed up. Listening to God’s voice is all good and well, but listening alone is not enough. Over and over, the Bible pairs it with doing. Matthew 7:24 is one example: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Having my ears open to receiving God’s words is good, but I must be willing to act upon what I hear Him say.
So then, what if God tells me to do something that feels ‘way beyond my expertise? What if He calls me to a task that’s bound for failure unless He shows up? What if He invites me to take a leap of faith bigger than any leap I’ve attempted in the past?
Listening to God give marching orders is one thing. Taking the first step is quite another.
Determining my one-word this year has revealed pockets of fear. It’s like I’m standing on a high diving board with knees knocking. God is saying, “Jump!” and I’m sticking my fingers in my ears to muffle His voice. If I don’t hear Him, then I don’t have to take action, right? Not.
I suspect this year will be one of growth that comes by listening to God and then doing what He says even if that means doing it afraid. Part of me wants to resist; the other part of me tiptoes toward the end of that diving board knowing God will catch me when I take the leap.
So, my friend. What’s your focus word this year? And how does it resonate with you so far? I’ve told you my story. Now I’d love to hear yours.
#OneWord #LeapOfFaith #ListenToGod