January sputtered in along with the realisation I didn’t have any concrete dreams or goals to scribble into my journal. I had a word, but just that. No lofty aspirations or enormous dreams to declare. Simply the word Unity, which arrived last fall and made me want to run away. Not because I don’t want unity, but because it seemed so ambiguous at the time and I wondered if I had somehow misunderstood. Still, I kept feeling drawn to this word, so I let it rest and waited for something like Faith, Hope, Travel, or Community to show up in January.
It didn’t. So, Unity it would be for 2019. Hmmm…
At the same time Psalm 19:14 had become my go-to prayer throughout the day for most of last year. It reads:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
My feelings have a tendency to spill over and out of my mouth too often. As a friend recently said, “Even my feelings have feelings.” She was talking about herself, but it perfectly describes my thoughts on the way my mind and heart work.
My words. There was the one thing I struggled with the most. What to say and when to say it. How to use my words to build up, instruct, inspire, rather than to critique, sway, or puff myself up in front of others. I’ve been known to overshare to connect, to come across as too critical when I express passionate opinions, or to communicate truth without expressing genuine love for others in the process.
Over the past week a couple of incidents occurred that were a little rough on my heart (and my ego, honestly). Doors to ministry fizzled out and I had some tough moments battling doubt that I was even usable in the kingdom. After a few hours of wallowing, I decided to pray even more fervently than I had before that in whatever I do or don’t do, He would be at the centre of it—even if it meant simply being still. Then I took it a step further and prayed that He would continue to expose even more of my flaws in whatever ways He felt were needed to make me more like Him.
Well, apparently when I ask the Lord to reveal my sin, He will. It’s been difficult to process at times, but goodness has emerged out of this sort of praying. What has felt like an end of sorts has really been a new beginning in my journey as a believer. I can’t remember a time in my walk with Christ when I’ve had a clearer understanding that the end of ME is the beginning of a life lived out in the strength and abundance of Christ and that is the sort of FREEDOM that I desperately need.
In these last days of January, I’ve felt like things have started to click into place. The words of my mouth were a visible display of the very things my heart was focused on—my feelings and emotions, which don’t always lead me down the right paths. And as someone who is teaching others, my words can either bring unity in the body or disunity, even if it’s just a momentary vent about a legitimate concern.
It’s also been freeing to remember He doesn’t need me to right every wrong I see, to be seen to be known, or to serve in every open slot. Being still, pausing to listen to how God is working in my life in the closed doors helps me better discern “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8)
I have a feeling the word Unity this year has much to do with how I’m building up the body to love one another by the words I choose to speak (Hebrews 10:24). Am I sharing what is true, what is good, and what is lovely? Or am I merely venting a momentary frustration that will pass once I process quietly? This is the filter I’ve been trying to apply lately, with some wins and some losses because I’m still in process.
The end of following the desires of my flesh and allowing all of my words to pour out, is good for me, and good for the building up of the body. God still wants me to use my words and be honest and authentic when I engage with others. But I believe He also wants me to practice wisdom and discernment so that I can create unity within the body He’s called me to serve.