I started hearing about the “one word” movement (myoneword.org) around the start of the year. Fitting, since it is meant to serve as a substitute for a New Year’s resolution. I have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions and, truth be told, I tend to avoid movements such as this one. Yet there is something appealing in choosing a single word to describe my hope for 2010.
When I was up in the middle of the night nursing Asher a week or so ago, I was using the time to talk with God. Our talk turned into me pouring out fears and frustrations I had and was experiencing. God brought to mind the fact that He is the vine and I am a branch– the actual verse is John 15:5, which says:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
I knew He was speaking to me through this verse, and particulalry through the word “abide”. Of course, “abide” can have a few different connotations and according to my friend Merriam-Webster (ha, does anyone else see the irony that I had to double-check my spelling of Merriam?) abide means 1) to wait for, 2) to endure without yielding/to bear patiently, and 3) to accept without objection. I knew what abide meant overall, but looking at these specific definitions helped me to understand it even more thoroughly, particularly in light of John 15:5 and the troubles I had been sharing with the Lord. We are often commanded to “wait” (Psalm 27:14) on the Lord; according to definition 1, “wait” is synonymous with “abide” (note: I am not taking into account Hebrew or Greek translations here, so forgive me if I am off on this). Definition 2 indicates that to abide is to endure without giving up, to bear patiently (I add italics here as a personal reminder). However, I was most intrigued by definition 3– to accept without objection. This is a hard one for me. But certainly appropriate given that my Father knows what is best and His will, not mine, be done. I find it reassuring that Matthew 7:11 reminds us that He loves to give us good gifts, as it reminds me that He does delight in giving us gifts if they are in our best interest and in accordance with His will.
Anyway, looking at the word “abide” in a more multi-dimensional way is fitting since the God I serve is certainly more multi-dimensional than anyone imaginable. And since He commands us to abide in Him, it’s important to understand the meaning of such a commandment. Going back to the night where I was nursing Asher and feeling pretty discouraged, I found such comfort in abiding in Him. I suppose that is because I picture waiting patiently and not giving up while being held firmly in the arms of my Abba Father. There is such safety and warmth in that image. I find myself regularly repeating the word “abide” when I find myself feeling lonely, sad, scared, or even angry. And I feel comforted.
All that to say, my one word for this year is “abide”. It draws my focus on resting in the Lord in all things. Let me be clear in case I sound too “preachy”, I am NOT so good at abiding. It will take some definite work. But to be able to do that is my goal and my prayer. And my privilege.