Thursday, January 25, 2018

a word for the new year: yield.



I started and deleted many drafts of this hopeful beginning of the year blog post. 

I love New Years and resolutions and fresh starts, and this year, I’ve needed one badly. I was looking back at the year behind me and desperately trying to write something that would help me to package it up and tie it up with a pretty bow. I wanted to march triumphantly into this year with a declaration and a word and a new resolve. But every time I’d write that post, it felt counterfeit. So I’m writing this post instead. 

Because that’s the thing about hard years. They expose you. 

In 2016, I looked back and saw that I had been refined by motherhood. I’d fought hard against what God was showing me about sacrifice and the rawness of a mother’s heart. I spent a year stomping my feet and declaring it all unfair until finally I relented and only then there was peace. ‘I don’t want to fight so hard in 2017’, I wrote in my journal this time last year. I thought I really meant that. “Selfless” was my word for 2017. 

If you don’t think God appreciates a little irony then you’re not paying attention. 

In 2017, I was refined by my marriage. And I fought even harder. I dug my heels in so hard against God’s invitation to make more of my marriage by making less of myself that it almost broke us. I declared that I wanted to be selfless in 2017 and when I was given the chance to do it, I answered with a swift and resounding hell no. 

Sometime around the late fall, I caved out of sheer exhaustion and gave up fighting. “Fine,” I threw my hands up to God, “I’ll do it your way.” I’d like to tell you I said it with a peaceful and beatific look on my face and joy in my heart, but I’m not a liar. I let go of my cause the way my toddler eventually runs out of steam after a tantrum- defeated and tired. 

Like the good dad he is, God waited patiently for me to stop fighting and he responded fiercely in love when I did. And there was peace. Peace in my marriage and in my home. 

So I limped into the new year with a simple, but hard learned lesson under my belt that if I stop fighting God on what he’s inviting me into, peace is waiting for me on the other side. 

Real peace. The kind that surpasses understanding. The kind that heals broken hearts. The kind I watched my mom sing about while she buried my dad, her lifelong love. The kind I thought was only available to the really spiritual people, the people who went to seminary and preached from stages, but I now know is waiting for all of us, just on the other side of an invitation that is frustrating in it’s simplicity. 

The invitation is to yield. 

For two years, God has invited me to yield my expectations and my need for control. He’s asked me to surrender my agenda and hand over my battles to him. He’s beckoned me to serve and give freely and lay down the desperate need to look out for myself and allow him to look out for me. He’s asked me to give up the need for approval and acceptance from anyone but him. I’ve fought and fought and fought and it’s gotten me nowhere. I’m accepting the invitation finally and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still take up my cause out of fear and uncertainty. Much like my toddler, I still push back to find out if my Father means what he says when he says I can trust him. But I come back around because it is the only way I’ve known peace so far. 

My word for 2018 is “Yield”. I have it written in my journal and written on my heart as I make my way through another year of marriage and another year of motherhood. I’m not pretending like I have anything figured out over here. My hope though is that if you’re resisting that invitation in whatever corner of your life God is beckoning, you might join me in yielding and see what happens. 

I’ll let you know how it goes for me this year. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so CRYING good. Man are we living parallel lives or something? Haha! I should probably write YIELD on my forehead, on my refrigerator, etc. It's getting easier and it does bring peace, but man the tantrum does come up in me.

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