You don’t have to read this post to find out my intentions for this year. Obviously I gave it away in the title. Though I suspect that knowing the word(s) is not enough. It’s the process and the back story that is most inspiring. It’s the same as looking at a piece of art — I can appreciate it and draw some of my own conclusions, but when I get to hear about the artist’s process and inspiration behind the piece it brings a whole new level of understanding to the work. I hope the same is true with my Word. The process and the backstory deepens the appreciation for the journey. So, as promised, I’m sharing part 2 from my January post. My Word for 2017 is related to what I learned at the end of 2016. If you haven’t read that yet, go read it first.
One element of the unforgiveness I discovered in 2016 was because I tend to lean too heavily on people and their love or acceptance. Disappointment and rejections can really throw your emotional health out of whack when your identity is wrapped in people. The root of my bitterness was that I felt unloved. In my head I know the truth. I know I’m loved. However … that doesn’t necessarily mean my heart and the broken pieces of my spirit have caught on. Thought I walk with Jesus, and I believe in Grace, I’m realizing that I have not truly understood at the heart level what it looks like to Live Loved as a dearly loved child of the King.
Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.” (NIV)
As I wrestled with choosing the right word for 2017, I thought my word was going to be just LOVE. Because of learning to forgive, I wanted to learn to love others better. But I sensed the Lord pressing the words “Live Loved” in my spirit. So, I thought Ok. I will have a whole phrase! And it will be “Love and Live Loved!” (Because it’s better to give than receive, right?) But the Lord kept peeling away the layers and impressed on my spirit, “No … just Live Loved.” It was then I realized – maybe it’s because I cannot love anyone fully or well if I don’t understand what it looks like to Live Loved first as a dearly loved child of the King. If I don’t have an understanding of how deeply I’m loved, how can I overflow into the lives of others?
1 John 4:12 “We love because he first loved us.” (NLT)
I knew this was my phrase when the Lord confirmed it one day with the verse of the day from my bible app.
Ephesians 5:2 “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ …” (NLT)
To be filled with Love I have to first know Love. A perfect Love. When we live loved I believe we are able to better love others. With freedom. Without strings. Without the tangles of worrying what others think. I want my identity to be centered on knowing the deep abiding love of Christ. So – my intention this year is to gain a better understanding of what it looks like to Live Loved because I want to love better.
I’ll be learning this through prayer and watching for God’s work in my life. I know He is eager to show me just exactly what this looks like – to Live Loved – because it’s kind-of at the core of His character. I intend to strive less and listen more. As an avid reader, I have several books that have come recommended by my own Pastor. I suspect what I learn will overflow into the lives of the people I rub shoulders with. That’s how this Word thing works. I’m looking forward to the stories I will tell as 2017 comes to a close and I hope above all that I will end 2017 a different person than I started. One who knows the love of her Heavenly Father in a fresh and personal way. A love that overflows into the rest of her life. With freedom. Without strings.