Have you ever done the whole “Word for the Year” thing? The practice is a variation on the traditional “New Year’s Resolution,’ except rather than choosing a habit or behavior to change, you choose a single word to be your guiding focus for the year. If you’re really interested in digging into the concept, there’s a woman named Ali Edwards who has turned it into an entire program with courses and resources and whatnot, you can find all that here:
My people on social media, both the influencers I follow and the folks I know personally, are super into the whole thing. December and January find my feed thick with posts declaring how folks have made the previous year’s word manifest in their lives and sharing what word they’ve got locked and loaded to change the landscape of their lives in year to come. Some have even gone so far as to get their word tattooed on their actual bodies.
I’ve regarded the practice with a mixture of admiration and skepticism. I’ve even tried my hand at choosing a word the past couple of year, my efforts yielding decidedly tepid results.
This year, it’s different. This year, I’ve got a word, I’m all about my word, I’m proud of my word, I’m posting on social media about my word, and while I probably won’t get my word tattooed anywhere on my person (you’re welcome, Mom) by the end of this year, I will probably have at least considered it. It felt like that word chose me this year. It came bubbling up out of the depths of several different things that our loving and patient God has been working me through over the past months and years.
My word is “Foundation.”
And by “Foundation,” I mean what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:24-25:
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
The Son of God did not stutter or waste words, he picked the words he spoke to us with intent. In His three decades of walking among us humans here in this fallen world, Jesus had both witnessed and experienced what it’s like to be human. Elsewhere in scripture, he promises us that in this life we will have trouble because he had seen it and lived it. He knew firsthand exactly how much real life can feel like trying to keep the walls up and the roof on our proverbial houses through an onslaught of rain, floods, and wind.
The slow, soaking rains of illness, financial trouble, anxiety and depression…the shifting, influencing winds of the opinions of others and the value system of the fallen world that does not reflect God’s vision for us…the flash floods where a word or a phone call brings us to our knees…
But with those words, with that metaphor, Jesus promises us that if our foundations are secure, the rain and wind and floods cannot take us down. He promises that through it all, we will remain secure if we will only build our houses upon the Rock, make Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our Foundation.
He also goes on to say that if your Foundations are not secure in him, you can count on the storms of life being a problem. Whatever this world throws at us is going to batter us about and could level the house altogether.
Our. Foundation. Is. Everything.
So what else could I possibly focus on in 2019 but my Foundation? Everything else, EVERYTHING else, proceeds from and through that. A year is a long time, I’m sure God has other plans for me, other things He wants to teach me, other ways He wants me to grow. But in order to do those things, I’m going to need to have a solid Foundation, built on the Rock.
As I prayed and pondered this directive from God to GET MY FOUNDATION SECURE, the work has kind of naturally fallen into three categories for me:
- Knowledge and understanding of Scripture.
- Prayer and communication practices
- God-ordered priorities
That is the three-legged stool, so to speak, I’ll be perching myself on to do the work this year.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be digging into those three concepts here on my blog, sharing a baseline for how I’m beginning to work on each of those things this year.I would love for you to join me on this journey. I’d appreciate your thoughts and suggestions about what has worked for you when it comes to anchoring your foundation in the Lord. Also, I’m an extrovert, a people person, I do my best work when I’m traveling with others, so if you feel inclined to make 2019 your Foundation year, I’d love to have you along on this path with me.
I leave you to day with the opening verse to one of the hymns I remember singing growing up:
“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?”