“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1 (ESV)
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar
- Dear friend, come soak in the presence of your heavenly Father today. Read Psalm 127:1. If you have time, read the entire chapter.
What’s the Word?
As one year closes and another year opens, like books in a series, we eagerly anticipate all that the New Year has in store. Many make new resolutions or goals, since without objectives, we wander aimlessly, arrows without a target. In need of direction, I set yearly expectations for myself with a slightly different approach. Believing that without a solid foundation nothing will stand, I pray and ask God what His yearly word or theme is for me. This word or theme serves as a guide for the coming year. For example, for three years in a row “rest” was the word God gave to me. Why so many repeated years? I believe it took three years for me to finally begin practicing what He knew I needed to do! This past year, the word was “focus.” Focus on Him. Focus on His Word. Focus on my family. Focus on my marriage. Focus on each day…on each moment. Focus this year and anticipate all that He has in store.
“That’s great,” you may think, “but how am I to discover my word for the year?” God speaks to each person, using different methods at times, but He does speak. The most obvious way to find out is simply to pray and ask God what He wants your goal to be for this year. I find that when I quiet myself, listen, and patiently wait, He brings a word to my mind; it could be a Scripture verse, a sentence, perhaps lyrics from a hymn, or a picture. Another way to discover your aim for the year is by opening your Bible, which is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), and ask Him to highlight a Scripture for you. Anytime we read our Bibles, the Creator of All is speaking to us because the Bible is not some collection of ancient writings by philosophical men, but God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and timeless. God speaks to each person, using various ways, but He does speak.
When you have received your word, Scripture, or theme, write it down where you will see it each day. Fervently pray for God to reveal the areas in your life where He is specifically speaking this word to you. This may happen gradually over the year, so have patience as He unveils your eyes and heart to areas of your life where He wishes to have your attention. Finally, listen daily for Him to speak as you both proclaim and humbly ask, “Lord, my day is yours. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. What are You doing today, and how can I cooperate?” His Word will be your daily foundation to build upon this year, your filter with which to look at each chapter in this wonderful new “book.”
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Is my aim for this year to bring Him glory or to bring glory to myself?
- Am I laying a good foundation for the new year by prayerfully seeking God’s goals for me, or am I choosing my own goals based on trends or self-serving desires?
- Have I thanked God for all that He has done for me and my family during the past twelve months?
Buy an inexpensive miniature chalkboard and write your word or Scripture for the year on it in a pretty font. Hang or display your new art in an area of your home that you frequent, so you will see it often throughout each day. Each time you see it, breathe a quick prayer to your Father, asking Him to
guide you moment by moment.
Ask God for a word or Scripture for your spouse and each of your children or a theme for you as a family. If your children are in upper elementary school or older, encourage them to pray and seek God for their own word or Scripture for the new year. There is no such thing as a “junior Holy Spirit.” God speaks to everyone who asks Him, both young and old alike.
Carve out extra time one evening this week to remember and celebrate all that God has done for your family in the past year. Encourage each family member to share their favorite part of that year, the most difficult part of that year, and their goal(s) for the next year. Questions can vary depending upon age and understanding. Write each answer down as you go, or record the answers on a voice memo app as a keepsake, as well as a reminder. Consider making this “New Year’s Remember and Celebrate” ceremony a new family tradition. Keep it simple or be ultra-creative—you do you!