For a few years now I’ve noticed others choosing a single word or phrase for the new year. This is meant as a resolution of sorts. Instead of making goals to reach, they choose a word to live by. I considered this for several days leading up to the new year. On December 31st I flew to Atlanta to take part in the Passion 2018 conference (post to come later – read last year’s here). I sat in an open, nearly empty part of the airport waiting for my friend to arrive and asked God what my word should be for 2018. The word I felt rise up in my heart is “authentic.”
Merriam-Webster.com defines “authentic” as:
- (a) worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; (b) conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features; (c) made or done the same way as an original
- not false or imitation: real, actual
- true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
Reading the definition gives further assent to the stirring I’ve received in my heart from the Lord. 2018 is to be the year of me…the real me.
Confirmation from the Critic
“The year of me…sounds a bit arrogant, doesn’t it?” That was my first thought. My first response to the Lord answering a prayer was a knee-jerk reaction of fake piousness.
See, my internal critic is a “good girl.” She’s always telling me what I should and shouldn’t do based on what other people might think. “You can’t make a whole year all about you. That’s selfish. That’s arrogant. You can’t blog about that. You’re supposed to be setting a good example.”
I’m choosing to ignore her. Why? Because my internal critic is a hypocrite and a jerk. She knows God wants to make changes in me. To grow me. To make me more useful for His kingdom purposes. And that makes her afraid. And fear shows up as fake humility, persuading me to take a step back, be small, be insignificant. It sounds good on the surface, but God is not the author of fear.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
“Courage, Brave heart.”
No, my God wants me to be strong and courageous. He wants me to keep my head held high, my shoulders squared, and my eyes fixed on Him and the calling He has on my life.
“Courage, Brave heart.”
Three words penned by C.S. Lewis in a children’s story I found myself scribbling on my mirror in eyeliner. I needed this reflected back to me every morning to remind myself to not give in to the fear. To shake off the words of shame heaped upon me by others. Three words I found myself clinging to through the pain of the holidays for hurting people hurt people and there is no hurt greater than the loss of love. And on the heels of such brokenness, I feel the Lord whisper…
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Why “Authentic” and not “Courage”
“Not false or imitation: real, actual”
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart.” ― C.S. Lewis,
What “Authentic” Means to Me
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13