It’s amazing the difference a year can make. When you’re in the midst of daily life, though, it can appear that nothing much is changing and that all your little daily choices aren’t amounting to much. But life has a funny way of surprising you as you arrive at the end of another 365 day circling of the sun; you realize that you really are different. Unbeknownst to you, something deeply spiritual really has taken place. Some significant shift has occurred in your heart.
I want to testify to (and honour) the invisible God who has done a tangible work in my heart. He has changed me. While I was too busy analyzing my life to death, I didn’t know that ‘life’ was at work in my inner being.
I want to share a simple illustration of how my life has changed. It may not seem like much, but it’s huge to me! Now that I’m taking some time to reflect on the past year (and as I look to this new year ahead of me), I am amazed.
In 2013, my ‘one word’ for the year was RELAX. (this was inspired by the One Word 365 movement where thousands are scrapping new year’s resolutions and choosing just one word to define the next year) I entered that year with an anxious and fearful heart, full of burdens and insecurities. All I wanted was to be tucked away in a cocoon of safety and never come out.
I needed to relax badly.
There was so much internal unrest within me that the most spiritual thing I could call myself to last year was to calm down and just relax. Relax, o my soul, relax! The call to relax determined a lot of my choices last year. My heart needed to settle down and find a resting place.
You see, in mid 2012 I’d left the mission field overseas and returned to Canada for a much-needed sabbatical. My spirit knew I needed a time of sabbath rest but my flesh was desperate to “go go go”. So, the spirit within me took precedent and declared to my heart, ‘relax!’
Fast forward a year as I entered 2014, it was very clear what my ‘one word’ would be… RISK.
From relax to risk. I’d say that’s quite a dramatic change. That kind of change doesn’t happen overnight.
But I’ve discovered that something has been restored to me over this year. In the midst of a year that was full of many challenges, pain and disappointment, somewhere deep in the recesses of my heart, a little flickering flame within me was being stoked. Somehow a little crack in the doorway of my heart was left open and a little divine wind came to blow upon the ashy embers. The dry sticks laying dormant were rekindled and something resembling a flame of desire began to rise up within me in the second half of last year.
A desire to take some risks again.
A desire to step out in the midst of uncertainty and danger and risk my safety. Risk my comfort. Risk my security. Risk certainty for something uncertain and unknown. Risk emerging from the cocoon and seeing if my heart really could fly again — seeing if my heart could come alive again.
I can sense that something is returning to me. That little part of me that rises to a dare and accepts the challenge. The part of me that embraces adventure. The part of me that doesn’t back down in the midst of difficulty. The part of me that takes risks. I can see that part of me returning. I thought that part of me had died and I was bound for a life of safe choices and avoidance.
It seems that the good things God established in me by relaxing more last year are bearing the fruit of courage, in trusting God enough in this new year to take some risks.
This year I want to take risks. Personal risks. Relational risks. Professional and ministerial risks.
I want to stoke the flickering fire in me and see it become a passionate fire. I want to burn again. I must.
I want to take risks because I trust that the Father loves me no matter what and is taking care of me (and quite possibly even leading me into these risks?!)
I want to take risks in love and for love.
I want to take risks with God’s will.
I want to risk losing the good opinion of others so that I’m free from the fear of man’s judgment (and my own).
I want to risk losing control of my life for the sake of gaining a deeper trust in God.
Who knows where these risks will take me, but I guess that’s why it’s a risk!
It’s time. Definitely time. The time to risk.