So I've finally settled on a One Word for 2014. At first, I doubted my word-- I think, because I wanted something a bit more glamorous. But in the end, it has stayed with my, on my heart, for the last two weeks as I mulled things over. Here it is (drum roll, please)...
I chose perseverance because, let's be honest, I'm great at starting work, projects, chores, etc, but I'm terrible at follow-through. This is also related to my mad skills in the field of procrastination. I can't quite seem to pin down my Meyers-Brigg personality type but I'm sure there is some correlation to these things and who God made me to be.
Anyways, the minute this word came to me, I also kept thinking back to Hebrews 12:1-2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I'm encouraged by this verse in a few ways. First is the community aspect of that great cloud of witnesses. Looking back to chapter 11, we see a laundry list of faithful believers-- not perfect, but full of faith. I love how we can be encouraged by those who have gone before us, as well as those around us, both in our spiritual walk and in everyday things.
Whatever it is I'm trying to do, endurance is something I need more of. I've never been a runner; I always excelled in sports requiring short bursts of speed, rather than long-distance consistency. This is true in other areas of my life as well. This year, I want to push forward in projects I'm working on, in parenting struggles, in relationships, when I might have otherwise petered out.
I really love that the verse calls Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith. None of this is possible without him as my rock and foundation. In addition, it's important to note that in other translations He is called the author and finisher. I especially love that phrasing, because it reminds me that I too am an author of my own story, as I'm created in His image.
Of course, I'm also encouraged that He is the finisher. He doesn't just start things. He finishes! He didn't just come to earth to live a good life. He took up His cross and finished the job that God the Father sent Him here for-- dying for us. My own journey may be less dramatic (and traumatic), Lord willing, but it is the road I am to persevere along nonetheless.
When I think of perseverance, I can't help but think of my father-in-law, who endured the difficult road of leukemia treatment (and his wife who advocated for and took care of him all along the way), and wasn't able to celebrate Christmas and New Year's with us just a year ago.
When we visited the Rose Parade floats in Pasadena after New Year's I was really moved by the City of Hope float-- that's the hospital where my father-in-law did all his treatment.
Having him with us this year, cured and now completely off his meds, reminded me how amazing the God we serve is, and just how powerful He is in us as we go through this life He's given us. And it's just one more example in that great cloud of witnesses of what it looks like to persevere with faith.
So here's to a year of finished projects, enduring parenting, investing in relationships, getting up when my alarm goes off, and general perseverance in the Christian life.
Do you choose a One Word? I'd love to hear what yours is.