I remember it so clearly. As 2017 came to a close, I anticipated the year ahead.
“Good riddance 2017, bring on the new year – it’s got to be better!”
In March of 2017 I had been diagnosed with Marginal Zone Lymphoma resulting in 12 radiation treatments.
A month later, doctors felt the treatment had not been 100% successful. Another biopsy of the area confirmed there were still cancer cells present. After consultations with other radiation oncologists who specialized in this type of cancer, a determination was made to administer another 20 radiation treatments.
By the last treatment I was tired and sore from reddened skin. It was the week of Thanksgiving and I did my best to get through the holidays.
So by New Year’s Eve, I was more than done with the current year and looked forward to the new one. Surely it could only be an improvement over my current circumstances.
It only took three weeks to discover that wasn’t the case.
For the past few years, I have prayed for one word to meditate on for the following year.
In 2018, I thought God was giving me “seek” as in seeking God’s presence, but after some prayer and confirmation, I came to see it was actually the word “presence.” I needed to be present in His presence and rest there. The more the year marched on, the more evident the need to rest in His Presence became. Three surgeries provided months of down time. A chance to get off the hamster wheel of doing and sit in the silence being.
But I have something to confess. If it’s possible to run while sitting, I did. For weeks on end, tethered to surgical drains, I went nowhere but to doctor’s offices for follow up visits. Hours each day were spent sitting. But rather than being in God’s presence with all my free time. I often felt like I was avoiding Him. My mind was too jumbled to pray. My heart was not desiring His word. If vegging out was an Olympic sport, I won gold, silver, and bronze.
Some might say I’m being hard on myself. It was a traumatic year. A second cancer diagnosis, a major 9 1/2 hour surgery, an anesthesia/pain medication induced fog that lasted for weeks and recovery, including physical and occupational therapy that lasted for months.
Let me clarify that I never lost faith. I know God is my Rock and Anchor in good times and bad. I can’t imagine turning away from Him, but I surely wasn’t running toward Him. I wasn’t actively seeking to engage with Him.
It bothered me because I knew better.
Beyond not regularly picking up my Bible or praying daily, I’d begun to dread my calling. The stress I felt as the days drew closer to returning to work was overwhelming. Anticipating dozens of phone calls each week – sometimes that many in a day – with people pouring out their needs was more than I felt I could bear.
Let me just sit in my recliner, staring at the TV, becoming numb to the world and all it’s needs and hurts.
Pretty glum picture, huh? Not very Christian of me.
That’s why this year, I believe the one word I’m being given is Delight.
It’s a word that brings joy to my heart and a smile to my face as I say it.
Dictionary.com defines delight as:
- a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture
- something that gives great pleasure:
A friend asked what delight means to me in the context of a one word.
Like the picture in this post spells out, it means savoring the seconds, minutes, hours and days I’m given. Being thankful in all circumstances. Remembering how I felt when I first realized my purpose in life and how God has orchestrated things to allow me to put that purpose into action. It means knowing what a gift it is to be able to access the God of the universe just by calling on His name, and more importantly, desiring to do so.
So this year, I won’t say good riddance to the old year, because I know God works all things together for good. And I won’t welcome the new year as better because my trust is not in time or circumstances, but in the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
But this year, I do want to delight.
Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
My desires are to find pleasure in God’s love for me, joy in His mercy and forgiveness, peace and fulfillment in His Presence.
So this year, I want to once again find delight in God. Talking to Him and learning more about Him. I want to once again find delight in the work He has given me to do. Seeing the people who cross my path as my reason for service and not an interruption to my service. I want to once again find delight in the every day moments of life. Appreciating the time I have, in the season I’m in, with the family and friends I’ve been given.
What is your one word for 2019?