Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
When you make new year resolutions, do you think of who you are becoming more than what you want to be doing?
You wouldn't think it'd be so difficult. To choose one word. For the new year. But, it was. I've been asking God for a word to focus my spiritual walk in 2012, like a madwoman in a dressing room trying on clothes. Right before summer.
Does this fit right?
Is it me?
How in the heck do you wear this thing?
My first thought was to stick with last year's One Word: confidence. I definitely need a continuing refill on that. But, is this what God wants me to wear new this year? ... Back to trying on more words.
I don't make new year resolutions. They're great for setting goals at work or getting things done. But at the end of the year, my life isn't about what I've done, but who I've become. I developed an yearly habit way that goes back in college, that's continued to my adulthood -- from student to working woman, singleness to marrie -- to life now as a mother and a writer.
I take time out to reflect on my spiritual journey. I look back on the past year to see where I've been, then I pray and read Scripture to ask God where he's pointing me in the coming year.
Soul resolutions are not about what I'm doing, but who I'm becoming in Christ.
I call it my New Year's "Soul Resolution," because it's more about living it out in my heart, rather than striving to accomplish a goal.
This year, I flipped through my recent journals entries and looked at where my faith journey is pointing next. I whittled it down to two. Which one is it? I made the decision to go with the one I feel least confident about. The one that takes greater faith. It's not one I can easily do, but it's one I wished was really true. My One Word for 2012 is taken from Isaiah 62:4 --
"It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken," nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate"; But you will be called, "My delight is in her,"... For the Lord delights in you."
My One Word is: Delightful. I am Delightful? I came across this word in my friend Holley Gerth's book, God's Heart For You. I couldn't even say that sentence out loud: "In God's heart, I am delightful." Here's what Holley said --
"I frequently ask ... what brings you joy? Delight, which is a synonym for joy, is powerful. If you asked God the same question, what do you think He would say? As amazing as it may sound one of His answers would be "you."
We've all got some mountains to climb this year, even though we all walk through different seasons of faith. After an extended season of letting go, God is calling me to step out in new circles, friendships and adventures. With each new beginning, I face my old giants again. Insecurities return. I feel the scar of the past. It takes faith to walk out into the open fields again. But, it's different this time, God says. You are not the same Bonnie. Faith has rebuilt my heart. God's love has healed me and I know He is strong enough to carry me through. I feel the joy of His goodness and He's brought me faith friends who understand and encourage me. This time through, I want Jesus to make me new this way -- Delightful.
Like my boys who toddled their walk with first steps, I am opening my heart to learn too. I am daring to walk as a woman who God tenderly whispers, "You are my delight." How will this happen? I am not sure, but I am confident He knows. I am praying His word will settle deep in my soul and become a living part of me. I'm asking myself how would I do life differently, if I really believed this were true? I've begun brainstorming a list -- A Faith Dare of Delight --
how I'd do things differently,
preferences I'd adopt,
what I'll say no to,
what I'll say yes,
things to enjoy, and
things to try.
Don't worry. I don't plan to do them all. Maybe one or two?
Who knows what ups and downs the new year will bring? It doesn't really matter.
Because after all, in God's heart -- I am delightful. So are you. And that's all that matters.
I'm curious what the year ahead has in store for us. Together, we can share the journey. We can encourage each other in our One Words for 2012 -- our Faith Dares for the year.
What is One Word God is placing on your heart for 2012?
Pull up chair. It's been ages since we last shared. Click to share a comment. I'm all ears.
By Bonnie Gray, the FaithBarista serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of FaithBarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)Courage. Bonnie is currently working on her debut book, due to release in 2013 by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.
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** Share Your One Word? ** Bonnie is inviting her readers to share their One Words for 2012 in a Faith Jam. Click here & scroll down to the end of the post and read what readers have submitted. Then, add yours!