The Real Life in the Gap study, with Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook studies groups, was focussed on goals this week. We were asked to consider the following…
“Looking forward to 2014, what hopes do you have? What dreams? Have you chosen a New Year’s Resolution or one word for your year? How do these relate to any goals you may be considering? What steps will you take to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into 2014?”
Now…I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions, as I seem to have a repeated pattern of failure, and so decided that, rather than setting myself up for failure, I would just not start the process. A bit of a defeatist attitude, I know, but I’m just being honest with myself. So when I heard about the idea of ‘One Word’ to focus on throughout the year, I was immediately inspired and began to pray about it.
This is the One Word that came to mind immediately. Throughout that whole day I meditated over this word and asked The Lord to confirm if this was THE One Word that He had for me, or if there was a different one I needed to wait for.
I listened all day as I continued to hear “Prepare” being repeated, and as Scripture came to mind that confirmed what I had heard. Scripture repeatedly talks of being prepared…being prepared for The Lord, being prepared to speak and witness about His work in our lives, being prepared to preach.
“A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3
“Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15
One verse stood out to me above the others:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:13
When I consider my life at present, I can understand clearly why this is my One Word for 2014. I am currently sitting at a STOP sign! After a great deal of prayer and study, my husband and I were led to leave our jobs and enter a time of rest. A time we have set aside and given to The Lord as an offering. Leaving our life in the U.S. temporarily, we have come to my parents’ home in Scotland for 5 months, until May. We have purposefully set ourselves apart from the busyness of daily life in the world, in order to study and pray through God’s Word and allow Him to speak into our lives and lead us forward on the path He has for us.
In this time of reflecting on my One Word, I was reminded of Esther. She was taken to the palace of King Ahasuerus in Susa, and, under the custody of Hegai (Esther 2), spent a year preparing to meet the King and possibly be chosen to replace Queen Vashti. Little did Esther know during this time, but she would be used by The Lord to bring freedom for the Jews. She had to take time away from her normal life, as an offering of preparation for what was to come. After she was chosen Queen, and The Lord’s plan was revealed to her, she set aside a 3 day period of fasting and prayer, in order to prepare to face the King with her request to save the Jews.
“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
Unfortunately, I will not be going through the various beauty treatments that Esther did!! However, I pray that at the end of this time set-apart until May, and by the end of 2014, I will be prepared for action; for what The Lord has planned for me. I pray that by reading His Word, reflecting upon it, and through continuing to be involved with Proverbs 31 OBS, that Christ will be set-apart in my mind. I pray that I will continue to “press on toward the goal” of what God is calling me to (Phil. 3:13-14).
I pray that I will be able to echo the sentiment that Esther’s cousin Mordecai said to her, that I have been prepared “for such a time as this”. When this happens I will hold fast to my life verse, knowing that I CAN be “strong and courageous…for the Lord your [MY] God will be with you [ME] wherever you [I] go.” Joshua 1:9