Willing

2018 has come and gone and that means it is time for a new word. If you don’t know I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I feel like they are lacking but a word, a word can carry so much more than a resolution can. For example, maybe you decide your resolution is to lose weight. Great have fun with that, but what about eating right, maintaining a proper body image, learning what type of daily eating works best for you, loving your neighbor, being a good parent, a good spouse, spending time receiving your identity from God. A resolution of weight loss cannot help you achieve those things but striving to live out the word healthy can. Healthy can be healthy relationships, a healthy body, and a healthy relationship with God. A word can carry so much more than a simple resolution can because it can be applied to every single area of your life and regardless of where you are at in life every area can always be improved on.

My word this past year was shalom. Not peace, but shalom. Shalom means more than peace it means soundness or completeness and I feel like this year was pretty sound. My relationship with my wife was better than ever, my daughter still likes me, we fostered another little boy who I still love dearly and cry for at times, but I am ok with the situation. I am almost done with my degree, and we are in the process of doing something huge and stressful but through it all, I feel content and fully at rest in Christ. It has been hard, but I have been able to keep going back to God to ask for His peace and soundness in my life. Like my past words (stronger, audacious, inspire, and indomitable) I will keep shalom with me and it helps it is tatted on my arm. I will keep going back to a desire to be complete in Christ, but it is time for a new word.

For 2019 I desire to be willing. If you know me, you might be thinking I don’t need to be any more willing but hear me out. Yes, I do love an adventure, but I am not always willing to do what I want or should. First, I want to be willing to have my faith make me uncomfortable. I want to be willing to do more for my wife and family. I want to be willing to do things I have not done so I can do things I have not done. I want to be willing to seek God so honestly that if He wrecks my plans, I am ok with it. I want to be willing to be open to new ideas and new ways of attacking life. I want to be willing to go or to stay. I am not going all Jim Carry in Yes Man, but you get the idea. I want to be willing.

It is not like the idea is way out there either. The disciples gathered and prayed for boldness. Paul prayed that he might be bold. I understand that bold and willing are two different words, but I want that same willingness that they had to ask for boldness. I want to be willing to seek God for direction, support, and blessing. I want to be willing to be told no to things I desire. Jesus says the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, and I want my spirit and my flesh to be willing. If an opportunity arises, I want to be willing to seize it (after prayer of course). I want to be willing to see what God would do this year. Who knows maybe nothing great or amazing happens, maybe I just find myself more willing to trust God and do hard things for my family. But maybe just maybe something amazing happens. Either way, I am willing.

Just a thought,

Mike

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New Year, New Word

Happy New Year Y’all! I just back from an 11-day vacation and it was wonderful. Where did I go you ask? Nowhere. We took a one-day shopping trip out Walmart and everybody picked a couple of small items from some money that was sent to us but other than that we just relaxed at home. No work, no striving, no busyness, just relaxing. It was not my first choice of how to spend my vacation because I would like to have done more but we are a little broke at the moment. The first month of having a new foster placement always drains us a little more than expected, but I am so thankful we are tight on money right now because taking some time at home with the family was just what was needed.

I am not just being all rose-colored glasses either. It was wonderful. We could not go out and be busy, so we took time to just be. To just be relaxed and present. To enjoy each other. To just be still.

It reconfirmed a few things and one of those things is my new word. Every year our family picks a word for the year because it is a little easier to live out a word than a resolution. My favorite word was stronger and that was for 2011 (I think). My least favorite was word was inspire. Stronger was great because I was both physically stronger and all my relationships were much stronger. Inspire on the other hand was a failure. Mostly because there was too much emphasis on me to do great things instead of trusting on God to build something up in me. So, this year I am going back to relying on God.

The new word is Shalom. You might be wondering why I did not choose peace and that is a good question. The word Shalom means peace but it also means so much more. Peace is the absence of striving but Shalom is the absence of striving and completeness or soundness. My vacation was more than just absence of striving it was contentment and completeness. God took care of what was needed and gave so much more. I was a reminder that what is needed is Him and His peace (shalom) in order to feel refreshed and restored. My wife and I were able to think through some things and refocus ourselves on what we want out of life and what is important.

I want, no I need God’s shalom in my life. I need His peace that surpasses all understanding. I need shalom within myself. I need shalom in my relationships. I need that because without it I run around trying to be something I cannot be. So, for 2018 I will try and be at shalom (peace and total soundness) with God, myself, and those around me. I have no idea what the year will bring but I will not try to control it either.

Shalom,

Mike