I've never been a person who sets specific New Year's resolutions, though, and the practice of selecting "one word" for the year, which I've frequently seen across social media, has always vaguely stressed me out. Keeping one singular thought in mind for an entire year? Some days, I'm fortunate to keep a singular thought in mind for an entire minute before I'm distracted by something -- or more likely, three little someones -- and, like a dog who drops a chew toy to chase a squirrel, dragged into quite different thoughts and tasks.
But this year is different. This year, I have a word, and that word is FREEDOM. (You must say it like William Wallace does in Braveheart.)
Yes, 2015 is the year of FREEDOM. As I've prayed and reflected, this is one message that God keeps searing in my heart: that as I walk with Him daily, no matter my circumstances, I can be free.
Although I'll experience inconveniences and frustrations, like persistent head colds or challenging afternoons with the kids, I don't need to be rattled. Although I won't please everyone (nobody ever does), I don't need to worry about what others might think or say about me. Although I might face a crisis or a persistent problem, I don't walk through it alone. Although I'll fail, I don't need to measure myself according to my performance, as if it had the final say on my worth.
The reason why I can walk in freedom? It's surprisingly simple. It's because I'm loved by God, and perfect love drives out fear and establishes security.
So, this year, as I encounter inconveniences, frustrations, disapproval, troubles, and failures -- because we'll all face these to some degree -- my desire is to view them through the lens of God's deeper workings in my life, not just the immediate circumstances themselves.
Circumstances, I suspect, are often just the vehicle through which God works His attributes into our character, or how He roots our issues out of our hearts.
We can trust the process of growth, knowing that He who walks beside us is powerful, faithful, and loving. We can be free.