A few years ago, I decided to choose one word to focus on each year. This word usually stems from a place within my heart that God is speaking to.
In 2014, I chose the word Hope from Isaiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Throughout the year, God worked through this word to teach me more about Himself and the calling He's placed on my life. It was a wonderful word to meditate on. I love HOPE.
This year, a new word settled in my heart. One I wouldn't choose on my own, but one I feel God wants me to think about often, and put into practice. The word is Discipline, from Hebrews 12:11. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Italics mine.)
This word is much less glamorous than last year's word, but it means a great deal to me for many reasons. God has blessed me with many privileges, but with them come a great responsibility. I feel disciplined in certain areas of my life, but I need to get better in many others. Some of the areas God is calling me to discipline are: time management, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, etc.
Interestingly, I was all set to focus on Discipline after the New Year. Starting last Monday, I was going back to my workout schedule, I had my shopping list ready, and I went to bed early on Sunday night to get into a better sleeping habit.
But I had a hard time falling asleep, and when I woke up early to exercise on Monday, I had a sore throat and I felt crummy. My entire family (minus one), ended up with Influenza and Strep Throat. I didn't leave my house for six days. Six. For me, that's unheard of.
My well-laid plans to focus on Discipline went to the wayside.
I felt terrible. My first week of Discipline was sabotaged by life's circumstances. I didn't exercise. I didn't eat as healthy as I had hoped. And my sleep schedule was totally messed up.
But I learned a great lesson this week. Discipline isn't always about accomplishing a to-do list. It isn't necessarily about exercising, or sleeping, or eating the right foods.
Often, Discipline is all about submitting.
Submitting to my limitations, submitting to God's plans when I have other ideas, submitting to my husband (yes, I said it), even when I want my own way, submitting to my list of priorities, even when they aren't always fun, and submitting to a healthy lifestyle.
Discipline is about doing the right thing, even if I don't want to. It might hurt in the moment, but later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace when I've been trained by it.
Your Turn: Do you choose a word to focus on each year? If so, what's your word for 2015?