Yes, it’s been a year. A weird one. A hard one. So much loss and chaos. So, when I was asked what my one word for the year would be, I had nothing.
Like many of you, I’ve hidden people on Facebook that I love in person but really struggle to understand on social media. Like many of you, I’ve sat in the darkness and asked God to heal our nation, heal his church, heal our hearts.
I’ve struggled friends. I really have. I don’t know what to do with words thrown out by Christian brothers and sisters like gauntlets. I’ve struggled as people I care about walk away from God and church, saying, “This is not what I thought it was,” and I want to run after them and beg them to take their eyes off of people and remember the beauty of who Jesus is.
And as tough as we all acknowledge this to be, I can’t help but acknowledge there are people who Jesus loves like crazy whose world was turned upside down long before a pandemic hit. Refugees who fled in the middle of the night, leaving everything they knew to find safety. Those who are fighting for long-overdue justice and equality, and exhausted by the fight.
I struggle as my brothers and sisters fight for the unborn, but then forget we are also called to fight for that child once he or she is born — that brown child, black child, immigrant child, that child battling poverty, that child on the border waiting to go through an altered asylum process or in a cold detention center separated from his parents, his or her world blown apart.
In the midst of this crazy year I introduced a book on joy — a message I believe with all my heart. A message I’ve held onto through my second bout with cancer, through a double mastectomy, through my husband’s unexpected heart attack, surgery, and recovery, through unfamiliar waters of a pandemic, and yes, through the struggle of trying to find Jesus in the midst of all of it.
Suzie, what’s your word for 2021?
When Holley and Jennifer and I talked about our one word in this week’s More Than Small Talk podcast, there’s a reason for the tears on my part. All of the above weighed heavy, even as I held onto beautiful, deeply-rooted joy. When I admitted that I was listening to God for my word and hadn’t heard anything yet, Holley’s words were comforting.
“I think that listening to God right now can feel hard, Suzie. Like it’s muffled. It’s not that He’s not speaking, but all the noise in the world right now makes it hard to hear for a lot of us.”
In the past week I did my best to shut down all the noise and just listen. When my word came, I knew it was Him and I wanted to weep.
My word is. . . “find.”
If you seek me, you’ll find me, God says. It’s not an empty statement. It’s a promise. It’s reminding us that He’s not far away. He’s always near. Yet there’s reciprocal action on my part.
Finding comes through seeking.
So the one thing I’m asking of God in 2021 is that He’ll meet me in the seeking. All the things I wrote about in the first of this blog post — He’s aware of. It’s not my dilemma to fix all of them, though I know I play a part. Seeking is putting down the distractions, getting away from the crowd to get alone with Him. It’s not a chore. It’s not a to-do. It’s life-giving and faith-altering, offering direction and hope and clarity.
It helps me to see my brothers and sisters in Christ through His lens, rather than my own. It takes my eyes off anything or anyone I see as my “enemy,” to battle the real enemy with gloves outfitted by prayer. It shows me what is my job and what was never my job, and how to battle from a place of healing over a place of anger or hurt or pride, or any other trap we may fall into.
I know I’m sharing a lot with you and there’s a chance you might not agree with me in some way or on some point, and I’m okay with that, sister. There’s a good chance you are trying your hardest to hear God in all the chaos too, and you’ve spent nights wrestling with what is true, with what to do, and trying to figure out what to do about all of it.
Maybe we can all just pray that God will meet us in the seeking, and there we’ll find Him together.
- Start your year by walking with Jesus daily. Come With Me Devotional: A Year-Long Adventure of Walking with Jesus is a 5-day-a-week devotional that allows you to read Jesus’ own words, follow His example, watch Him interact with others and with His Heavenly Father — and find your own invitation to live it out in your everyday life. You can purchase an autographed (and discounted) copy of this gorgeous hardbound devotional here. Profits go right back into the TogetHER ministry.