I learned something new about myself in 2020. I’m sure we all did, as much time as we spent with ourselves and very few others outside of our homes.
A little context: I’m usually a quick decision-maker. I don’t sweat the small stuff, like choosing a restaurant for dinner or what book to read next. In conversation, I’m a quick reactor, not needing much time to mull over my thoughts before responding. I’m the person who thinks later “Why did I say that?!” instead of “I wish I would’ve said something!”
However, I’ve learned that while I’m a quick responder, I’m not a fast processor. My first reactions aren’t always my most true, thoughtful or complete. I usually react, go on my way and – bam! – I start to think about how that might’ve come across to the other person. I realize my immediate reaction could have been insensitive, dismissive, selfish or unthoughtful. Ah, the plight of a wordy extrovert!
Often, this results in revisiting conversations to clear the air. At 42, I’m learning to listen better, react less quickly and humbly ask for forgiveness if I’ve spoken hastily based on my first reaction.
“That’s all fine and great, Erica, but how does that relate to your Word of the Year?” you wonder.
I’m glad you asked. The last three years I’ve chosen a word to focus on – connect in 2018, pray in 2019 and worship in 2020. I try to spend the year studying the word in Scripture, reading books on the topic and applying it in everyday life. It gives me focus and intention.
I’m learning, however, that a deeper application of the word often comes much later. For example, in 2019 my word was “pray.” I headed up my son’s school parents’ prayer group. I read books on prayer. I took note of different types of prayers in the Scripture. Our church also focused on prayer that year.
But I noticed those lessons seeped in deeper into my daily life the next year:
- Short prayers heading into a doctor’s appointment: “God, you go before me and you never leave me.”
- Middle-of-the-night prayers: “Lord, help me lie down in sleep and rest in Your safety.”
- Intercessory prayers during a sleepless night before a medical test: “God, please be with ______ who reached out to me and said they were praying for me. Thank you for their kindness. Let them know you are ever-present and always good.”
- Prayers of lament: “God, I feel so weary of this world right now – physical pain, loss, division, things we don’t understand. You are sovereign, let me trust you and your steadfast love that never fails.”
- Scripture prayers: “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning. You turn my darkness to light.”
My Word of the Year tradition (which I picked up somewhere on the internet) is a slow-churn process and often results in delayed application, reaping fruit for many years (or a lifetime if I allow God to build upon it). This is probably called sanctification (wink).
Word of the Year – Delight
In my year-end post, I confessed that my focus on worship in 2020 fell short. I started off strong, then gave way to distraction and apathy. I considered continuing with worship as my word for 2021, but as I prayed and mulled over it, I was drawn to the word “delight.”
“Delight” feels like a natural continuation after “worship” as I seek to enjoy God’s Word, His world and those He’s called me to love. I noticed several areas of my life fell short of delight, specifically with family where I dutifully served them, but didn’t delight in their unique personalities. In fact, sometimes I acted downright irritable.
God has given me this gift of my family, one I do not take lightly, in this right-now season. I pray as I delight in God’s Word that they will see the fruits overflow into my roles as wife and mom. And as a writer, I hope I can delight in sharing God’s truths with you on life’s hardest days. It’s my honor to share my story and listen as you share yours.
Verses on Delight
I’m looking forward to studying “delight” this year, and this first week of study has already yielded new insights.
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:14-16
In the verses above, each “delight” has a different root word and definition:
- Chaphets – desire, take pleasure in
- Sus/sis – to exult, rejoice
- Sha’a’ – stare, to be smeared over, blinded
From Psalm 40, I made a list of things David could desire that were in God’s will:
-To proclaim and tell of God’s wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us
-To tell the glad news of His deliverance without restraint
-To speak of His faithfulness, salvation and steadfast love
-To seek God, rejoice and be glad
-To say continually “Great is the Lord!”
Sounds like a pretty good list of things to delight in! As we head into 2021, may we delight by desiring to do God’s will; by rejoicing in His testimonies (His Word); and by staring steadily into His statues so that we are changed to be more like Christ.
Do you have a Word of the Year? Comment below, I’d love to hear it!