New Year, New Word
2016 was my year on PURPOSE.
2017 was my year of PROMISE.
2018 was my year of PASSION.
(Don't you love the alliteration there? I do. It makes me happy and to be honest I wasn't even trying for it but that's how much Jesus gets me.)
I didn't plan on having a word of the year for 2019, Really I didn't. Those previous three years and three words neatly tied up a season of my life, and using them as points of focus made sense. So as 2018 came to a close I didn't give thought to coming up with a new word. I was going to keep trucking along with these three, they felt like enough.
But God has this way of showing up, and shaking us up, and, in this particular case, waking us (well, me) up. Literally.
Just the other night, I was laying in bed, nearly asleep, when out of nowhere...and I mean NOWHERE...a word popped into my head. It was a little weird. But sometimes weird makes us sit up and pay attention, so that's what I did. The word kept circulating through my mind like a prayer and I knew that it was supposed to be my word for 2019.
What was this word, you ask? I'll tell you!
EEK! I know. But it gets better. In previous years I got a word and just went with it. I didn't dive deep. But with this one I couldn't leave it at the surface. I needed to dig a little and really sink my teeth into what this meant.
I started with the dictionary definition.
noun, often attributive
break·through | \ˈbrāk-ˌthrü \
1: warfare : an offensive military assault that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line
2: an act or instance of moving through or beyond an obstacle
3a: a sudden advance especially in knowledge or technique like a medical breakthrough
b: a person's first notable success like a breakthrough novel
Reading those definitions gave me chills for a few reasons.
1. My Spirit
I love how it's a warfare term and I love that it's about breaking through a defensive line. Cuz here's the thing. We are part of a war. We may not slay demons with swords like Claire and Zoe, but oh man we fight the shadows just the same. But we aren't the ones just trying to hold the line. We aren't the ones quaking in fear at the coming attack. WE ARE THE COMING ATTACK! (I mean, girl if that doesn't get your inner demon slayer fired up I don't know what will.)
2. My Heart
Anxiety has become an obstacle for me. It doesn't stop me but it can slow me down a bit. Insecurities, especially when it comes to career, can do the same thing. I'm sure you're already thinking of similar things in your life. I get tired of dealing with them. I'm ready to move beyond them. (So ready. Anybody with me?)
3. My Mind
It's easy to put all this on God and be tempted to sit back and just wait for my breakthrough to come. But I love Mark Batterson's quote, "pray like it depends on God, but work like it depends on you." I'm ready for breakthrough in some areas of my life. Some of them only God can handle but others require some work on my part. I need to learn more, I need to grow and prepare so I can be ready for where God is taking me. (I am making plans to do just that by the way, but I won't go into all of it here. I'll save it for another post.)
4. My Dreams
Okay, I don't have a big frilly commentary for this one. But just look at definition 3b again please. What does it say? I didn't come up with the "like a breakthrough novel" part, folks. That was just there. And while you can chalk it up to coincidence (to be fair it also said something about a breakthrough role for an actress and I left that out for space.) I think God is strategic and intentional. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pinning my hopes on Merriam-Webster, but I will pin them on God. He knows my dreams, He gave them to me. And I think He throws us these little morsels on occasion just to remind us that He hasn't forgotten.
But I didn't stop at the dictionary definition. What does God's Word say about breakthrough? I wasn't sure, so I Googled. A lot of awesome verses that would pump any of us up showed up on the list. But one in particular stuck out to me. Now, I'm not going to post the whole chapter, though the whole chapter is what I read over and over again. I'm just going to share with you a few key verses.
This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.
Isaiah 43:16-19 MSG
"It's bursting out!" Don't you love that! This chapter is talking about something new God is about to do for His people and I read it getting the feeling that even God is excited about it.
I'm not gonna lie. The word breakthrough was exciting when it first popped in my mind. But as excited as I might be by what God wants to do, I know He is more excited. Why? Because He loves me a lot. He loves you a lot too. (Doesn't thinking about God being excited about things that are gonna happen in your life make you feel all warm and squishy?)
But I'm also a little nervous. Why? Again, this is going to take work and preparation on my part. I want to be ready for the other side and I know that means a need to grow. Growth is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I also know that breaking through enemy line's sounds good but it means having to fight. It means fighting complacency, fighting apathy, fighting the procrastination monster, fighting insecurity, fighting fear. Fights are tiring. Fights get bloody. But breakthrough takes a fight and ya girl is down for it! (The cool thing is we don't fight alone, the Maker fights for us and beside us.)
My word for 2019 is BREAKTHROUGH. I am praying for God to make me ready. I am praying for God to take that word to every corner of my life. For breakthrough to the next level in marriage and ministry. Breakthrough for my kids and their fears and insecurities. Breakthrough for my family from illness and addiction and fear. Breakthrough in my own heart and mind so that I can become more of who Jesus wants me to be. Breakthrough in my writing so that it can go to all the places God wants it to go.
I pray that I will do my part. That I will be obedient to Him even when it is hard, or scary, or I just plain don't feel like it. (Obedience is key.) But the awesome thing is, If I am obedient, then the results are on Him, the actual breakthrough is His job, not mine.
So this year of breakthrough is really a year I am giving to the Maker. I am putting my 2019 in His hands and knowing He is trustworthy and He is faithful. He will make it all the things I can't.
Do you have a word of the year for 2019?
I'd love for you to share it with me.
PS: The Sunday after discovering my word of the year we sang this song at church. I absolutely love it, but it took on extra inspiration and encouragement on this particular morning. I thought I'd share it with you in hopes it will be a sweet reminder for you, whatever your New Year might hold, that God is faithful and He is good.