I’ve been doing a “Word of the Year” study since 2017. It’s an interesting thing to do…if you’ve never done it, you may want to consider it. It’s a great way to focus and grow—even achieve a milestone. I take a Word of the Year study quite seriously, and I make it a point to be mindful of it throughout the year. So far, I’ve studied “Selah” (2017), “Timing” (2018), “Forgive” (2019), and “Contentment” (2020). I gave a recap of my 2020 Word in last month’s column, and again, I have to laugh—that God gave me the word “Contentment” in the year of a pandemic is proof of His sense of humor…. But I digress. I’ve gotten in the habit of dedicating the January column to my new word and want to share it with you. But first, I want to tell you about how it was chosen.
I share the opinion of pretty much everyone—2020 stank. As a small business owner, I’ve watched the numbers and listened to doctors, governors, the President, and the press talk about COVID to the point my ears were ready to bleed. Seriously, I’m so done talking about it. I don’t usually deal with anxiety, but I really struggled with it in 2020, as did many of you.
When I began to ponder my 2021 word, the word that kept coming up for me was “Trust.” I was starting to wrap my brain around it, thinking it was the logical choice, when one day, I was listening to a sermon, and the preacher talked about “Surrender.”
It was like getting hit between the eyes.
I already talk about “trust” quite a bit. I trust God. He has proven Himself to be faithful throughout Scripture. On a personal level, He has proven Himself to be trustworthy to me on countless occasions. God is worthy of our trust, and I don’t need to be convinced of that—I already am. But it’s one thing to speak of trust, and it’s another to act on it. And I’m brilliantly good at telling God that I trust Him with something…and then telling Him how I think things should be done…. Or laying something at His feet…. And then picking it back up.
When I heard the word “surrender,” I realized—I can’t wholly declare my trust in God until I learn how to completely surrender everything to Him.
Surrender my business. Surrender my to-do list. Surrender my wants. Surrender my marriage. Even surrender my son. I have to surrender it all back to God and recognize this painful truth: I am not in control. And if I’m going to trust Him completely, then I have to surrender the steering wheel of my life, as well as everything I value. I have to trust that even if God took everything away, He is still God, and He is always trustworthy. And my trust in Him cannot be contingent on the illusion of control that I think I have, but on the total and complete surrender that He is who He says He is.
In Galatians 2:20, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Y’all—I know this truth. I believe this truth. But again, I’m not always good about living it out. To live a life of Christian trust—to put my faith into action—means I have to die to my own agenda and surrender everything to the One who redeemed me.
This may be the scariest word I’ve ever tackled. But I’m also excited about it. I know that God has a lot to teach me. And as has become my habit, I’ll make sure you hear how it went when I write “My Grace-Full Life” for December’s issue. Until then, Happy New Year! I am praying this one is better than the last!