Welcome to Val’s annual goal series! We’re releasing a new goals-related blog post each day. And don’t miss Val’s class on how to use our prayer journals and overcome common obstacles. Sign up to get the replay here!
My word of the years (WOTY) always come to me in cool ways. But sometimes, every once in a while it takes forever to nail one down because I simply don’t wanna pick it. I remember that being the case when my word of the year was SMALL. I was desperately trying to make it ABUNDANT! Doesn’t that sound so much better? Well, SMALL was a much better word for that year and now I sit here with a word I didn’t want for a very silly reason. It just seems a little overdone and basic. 😜 I’ve been picking a word for the year for over 10 years now and have seen them all. I love going with something a little unique mainly for myself. If it’s too generic, it just feels like I will kind of latch on to whatever others are doing with it.
So this year, I really thought it would be RHYTHMIC. It represented less volatility and more acceptance of highs and lows. I didn’t expect things to be perfectly smooth but wanted to do my best so that those ups and downs felt like a melody and not a rollercoaster.
But I felt the Lord put the word “present” on my heart. And like I said, I really didn’t want it. Don’t we all long to be present? Isn’t that like part of everyone’s goal every year? Funny enough, I have totally written a blog post why we should feel bad about the same goal when it comes to prayer. I just needed to remind myself of that for being present too.
I even tried to squeeze the word CURRENT out! See that? It could be current like a river flowing (Flow? Rhythm? Get it?) and it could also mean current as in, what’s happening right now.
I started noticing the word PRESENCE (a slight departure from Present) in every book I read and tons of Scripture, including Psalm 16:11 my favorite verse! 😝 Then I opened a package of adorable posts from Cloth and Paper to find the card you see in this photo.
“Start measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.”
As I’ve been working through my course work in the Christian Mindset Makeover course, this has been one of the lies I tell myself–that my measure of worth is determined by my productivity. I had even written in my prayer journal:
Be present. Future moments don’t “need” me as much as I think.
Bam! This is what I hope I learn by the end of this year! So often we feel like we need to worry and plan every last thing. (You can chuckle at the irony as you read my entire goal series with plans for 2022 🙃). But as I’ve been reminding myself of this little truth, it has been the biggest stress reliever. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that God didn’t ask us to get involved in the future so much. He wants us in the present. The things that cause the most angst, at least for me, are things I assume I need to take care of now. And the truth is, God’s not demanding all that from me.
So as I fully embraced the word PRESENCE, I did what I always do and searched the Word for verses with it. And through that process, it took my very basic WOTY definition of “present” and got me so excited for this coming year of PRESENCE!
It’s no longer just me being present in my life, it’s living in God’s presence and living like I know Christ is present in me right this minute. Which to be honest, isn’t far off from how I feel I live but I think I often try to grab God by the arm and enjoy His presence in the future or I forget that Christ is with me now and I try to muster all my own strength to do things. That may not make sense but it was sort of revolutionary for me.
So, here’s to a year of more presence in my present and with the Father!
Here are just a few verses that are fueling my fire this year. Not all have the word “presence”, but they all speak to Christ present in me, God’s presence or me being still and present.
Ephesians 3:11-20 – “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Matthew 6:33-34 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God…”
Psalm 26:8 – “O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.”
Psalm 31:20 – “In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.”
Psalm 68:3 – “But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!”
Psalm 89:15 – “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,”
Psalm 16:11 – “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
If you’re curious how to pick a word of the year, check out this old post with a few tips!