By Sue Duby —
I’m normally a “glass half full” kind of girl. I love trying to see the best in others and to give grace. Bad news just makes me jump to find the positive. I work my gratitude muscle hard, hoping it will become more automatic and natural in my daily. As I said, “normally. . .”
2020 entered with a bit of a whimper, rather than a bang. A head cold hit hard. For me that translates to LOTS of sleep, a fuzzy head and not so grateful heart. The glass begins to empty. I’m grumpy and quickly convinced I’ll never have energy again. The world looks more gray and small irritations simmer ready to erupt with vengeance. My actions are not to be trusted. Case in point… leaving the car in Drive with ignition on, while I shared tea with a friend!
Chuck and I look forward to our tradition of “pause and reflect” every New Years. Reminding ourselves of joys and challenges from the past year and then praying for insight and direction for the coming year. A simple time without a formula. No pressure. No specific ritual. Just giving ourselves time to be still and God time to whisper. Most often, we sense nuggets of encouragement to lead us with hope and excitement in to the months ahead.
Sitting on the couch together, I sighed, expecting no hope for any revelation through my brain fog. After a few minutes of quiet, we looked at each other hesitantly…”Well, anything?”. Chuck: “Nothing…except one word… Anticipation”. Me: “Nothing… except a list of words… Listen. Trust. With. Watch. Let Me. Stand By. Embrace.” I quickly scribbled in my journal to mark the not-so-momentous meeting and we headed out for a walk. No further pondering. Trying to shake off disappointment in lack of uncovering a big “game plan”.
A week later, still under the grip of my cold, I felt a nudge to go back to my notes. And it hit me. Sometimes road maps and next steps are so very simple and plain that I miss them! Simple words… packed with direction. Forcing a re-focus. Stirring hope. Anchoring faith in the midst of ______ (make your own list!).
Listen. A dear friend reminds us often, “Everybody has a story, but nobody is listening. Just listen!”. I’m working that muscle. Growing in grace when conversations don’t focus on me. Trying to hear hearts behind the words. My challenge for the year… doing the same for those closest to me. Chuck. Our kids and grandkids. Show me Lord how to listen to THEIR hearts well.
Trust. This one spooked me a bit. Right away, my thoughts went negative…”Lord, is something going to happen where I need to trust you more?”. Now, I know it’s just a whisper from Him saying, “Keep trusting Me… in all… at all times”. A reminder that He is Lord… in charge… all knowing… no matter what things look like. He’s there.
With. Simply…you ARE with me Lord. Always. Every moment. Present and with me.
Watch. Another reminder whisper… “Keep watching for Me… my presence and My hand”. Keep attentive. Expect to see Him in the midst of whatever is unfolding. Often, the simplest of moments. Even today, a lady at the checkout finishing with a “Have a blessed rest of your day”. Her genuine smile and twinkling eyes translated the message clearly …”He has you honey!”.
Let Me. Very simple. I get it. But actually doing it? Truly keeping my hands off. Remind me often Lord that you are able in all things. Your wisdom so far outshines all my crazy figuring and scheming to control, fix and change things. I can Let You!
Stand By. Often, God has things for us to do. Action to take. Hard steps to make. Plans to follow. That’s’ the easy part for me, as a “get ‘er done” girl. The challenge is to stand by… to trust in His work, timing and ways.
Embrace. This one confused me. Embrace what You bring Lord? Then, another whisper brought a smile… “Rest in My embrace”. In the midst of whatever a day brings, my desire is to do just that. Find deep refreshment in grabbing hold of His extraordinary love and affection for me.
With enough nudges and reminders to set my course for 2020, I can feel Anticipation bubbling up. I sense peace and confidence in His presence, plans and purposes. My heart says, “Yes, Lord… I will see Your goodness, grace and mercy unfolding in the months ahead. Have Your way Lord.”