I woke up with an exceptional joy yesterday morning as I spent some time reading and drinking coffee. I read of a pattern which leads to joy, gladness and thanksgiving and was able to reflect on the past couple of years of the walk that my wife and I have been on with our family and see the pattern in our story. The original pattern is an eternal Truth and it was encouraging to see the reality of the belief looking back. It looks like this:
- Get a Direction – a Word to move you towards a destination with a purpose. It’s OK to test the Word through counsel and seeking affirmation. It’s also good to be sure that the time is right for that Word . . . everything has a season. Once you know, then you know and you won’t be able to shake it even if you try to.
- Respond with obedience – listen to the Word and step out in faith that the Direction is True. The affirmation will lead you up to a point but the last step into the new direction is often one into the unknown. Walking through life this can be a little nerve-racking but rich and deep at the same time. Just do it.
- Expect some suffering – nothing is easy about a new calling, a new direction. Nothing is easy about change and growth so there is a price to pay and it will sometimes be a process of stripping off the old in order to put on the new.
- Persevere – suffering, lack of comfort, the unknown and other things outside of our preferences will cause us to want to turn back. We’ll look back at where we used to be and remember the good while minimizing the bad. You had bad days back there, too. Without the original Word, perseverance will be difficult but when you know that you know then perseverance is possible.
- Declare the new with confidence – there is power in our words and in the middle of the trials, change and stretching we will also be open to complaining and criticizing. Tell people who are close to you what the destination is and how you will work through the current to get to the future. Say it, and you will believe it at a deeper level. This isn’t hocus-pocus or goofy; it’s a testimony of the certainty of your conviction even when your circumstances are trying to lie to you about your wisdom in starting out in faith to start with.
- Know Joy – one morning you’ll wake up and realize that it’s done. There will be depth that wasn’t there before and reward which is internal and eternal. You will have changed and things around you will be different. You will know that Faithful and trust at a deeper level. There will be gladness and thanksgiving because Life is good and the journey was worth it.
I believe we’re invited into this process as often as we’d like to participate. There is no condemnation when we choose not to jump in, but the invitation remains. I am thankful for the Word and glad for the suffering and perseverance of 2009 and 2010. I believe and know Faithful like I never have before.
Do you have a Word for 2011?