I used to name my years with one word after they were over. I would write in my journal "this year was about love" or "my word for this year was patience". Later, like everyone else, I began to pick my words at the beginning of the year. For the last two years my word has been brave. 2015 felt very strongly that my word needed to be brave and in 2016 I felt like the word brave wasn't done with me yet, so I kept the word. Going into 2017 I feel like I really am done with the word brave. I have learned so much, written so much and am, I think, still processing all that I have learned about embracing the bravery that God offers His children, in the small ordinary places of our lives. Yeah. Lots and lots.
This past Sunday I walked with Grayson and listened to the message over the speakers. The sermon was also about having one word. The word that our pastor chose for the church was presence. And his first point was to choose presence with God and tucked within that point was the truth I needed to hear - that when Jesus told us who God is, He told us that God is like a father, who loves his wayward child (as well as the rule following jerk) and he waits looking for his child to return to Him. God is like that with us - we wander away but God delights in the return of His children. The prodigal son doesn't have to jump through any hoops, he doesn't even have a chance to finish his speech, the Father runs to him and embraces him and celebrates his return.
I think my problem with this story is that I limit it to a salvation experience only. I take this as a salvation story, past tense. One time only. Instead of understanding the character of the Father. He delights in the return of His children. Because I don't know about you but I feel like I live out the prodigal child story every day - I forget about God and don't appreciate His blessings, I wander away and return with my tail between my legs.
I forget that when I return, muddy and starving, my Daddy God jumps up, runs to me and embraces me. He doesn't sit up on His big chair looking down His nose at me, scolding me, if only with disappointed eyes. No - He delights in His children. No matter how many times we stray, no matter how long or short a time we are away. He delights in His sons and daughters, He rejoices over us with singing. Even me. And all of the times I've gotten distracted and forgotten what He told me, forgotten what I am supposed to be doing, forgotten who He says that I am.
My one word for the the year 2017 is delight.
I actually wrote about delight a bit last year and had forgotten about it. I have been writing about delight in my private Bible Study journals for the last couple of months. So this is my word for the year.
I will share one more story about my experience with delight. I was leaving a women's community worship event and I wrote down these three words in a note on my phone as soon as I got into the car - daughters of delight. I meant that it was in my DNA as His daughter to be someone who delights in God my Father. But it was like the Holy Spirit arrested me in that moment and the next words I wrote were "I do not delight in God because I do not understand how much He delights in me." I was pretty dumbfounded by this idea. I hadn't come to the idea of delight with self- focus. I came to it with worship. I think God often works like that - I come to God saying "I love you" but He replies "I love you even more!" I come to God to say "I delight in you God. Even though I'm still working out what that even really means." and He says "I delight in you, even more. Come and learn what it means to delight in me as I delight in you, and then you will delight in me even more." And my brain just kind of aches a little but I know that He is right.
I have been looking up a bunch of original language words for delight and it's synonyms in my Bible Study time and it has been amazing. I highly recommend using a tool like BlueLetterBible.org it has been really helpful. I'll be sharing some of what I've found so far in the coming weeks - you know me, I can't help myself.
I'm working on a playlist on Spotify for my word for this year - so if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments!! I am so ready for some new music.