I’ve tried resolutions.

They don’t work for me.

The pressure.  The “have to’s” of it all.  Have I ever mentioned that the quickest way to deter my spirit from going at something with gusto is to deflate the wind in my sails and tell me I “have to”?

Streak of rebellion?  Perhaps.  But make it a requirement and it suddenly becomes work.  Psychological?  Yes.

Which is why God led me to a word for 2012 that made me shake my fists up at Him, particularly after a year in which He FORCED me to focus on, of all things, OBEDIENCE.

The nerve of that guy.

As if I need help with obedience.  HA.

And as if I need help with…


Who does He think He is anyway?  God or something?

Oh, yeah.

He knows us with such intimacy that He even knows what we need before we do.

So apparently, He thinks I might want to grow a bit in the self-control department.

And as much as it pains me to admit it, He’s right.

As if He needed me to approve this – but I see that I do in fact need some help in this area.

If I want to eat it, I do.

If I don’t want to exercise, I don’t.

If I like the cute scarf I see at Target, I buy it.

If I want to have another glass of wine, I have one.

If I want a snack at 10 p.m., I eat one.

See the pattern?  There are really no limits.

But why do I feel the need to limit?  Isn’t it all about comfort and satisfaction?

Ten years ago, I would have answered “yes”.

I didn’t know much about this Jesus character and God was just this being that existed only when I needed Him to help out a little bit.

But then life took over and I started to get to know Him a bit better.  I began to walk deeper and He slowly began revealing qualities that needed refinement.

And this past year, this wretched year of 2011, He took me to Ghana.

Ghana was the brightest and most jolting part of a year I wasn’t so sad to see leave this past December 31.

For the first time, my eyes were opened to the fact that we really AREN’T necessarily supposed to be comfortable 24 hours a day.

Long lines in stifiling heat?  The Ghanaians were laughing and talking with one another.  They made new friends.  The heat, well, it’s not fun but it’s just part of life, you know?

No one grumbled.  No one complained and wondered what was taking so long.  No one stared at their watch and rolled their eyes.

Feeling hungry but no access to food at the moment?  It’ll go away soon and you’ll eventually eat.

Want to buy something that will end up at Goodwill next year or do you want to be a responsible steward of God’s money?

See the pattern here?

While obedience and pride and humility go hand-in-hand, self-control is the glue that holds it together.

Recently, I did some reading on the fruits of the spirit.

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness.  Faithfulness.  Gentleness.  AND SELF-CONTROL.

I can’t remember where I read it, but the author stated that self-control is listed as the last fruit because it’s impossible to attain self-control without the presence of the former eight.

I’m beginning to think that God doesn’t give easy assignments.  And this is actually a good thing.

Easy doesn’t move me.  It usually keeps me right where I am. 

And of course, God loves us right where we are at the moment but He loves us too much to keep us there.

Good thing.

I pray that you will consider a word for the year, a simple reminder of how you can be refined, and view it as an opportunity to be molded into an  image that is more like His son.

After all, that’s His goal for us.

Do you have a word for 2012?  What is it?



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