I sat in the midmorning light of that great armchair in the living room last Christmas and told God that I was planning on giving up on this blog.
I had been writing sparingly, mindlessly, and I was considering that for all my labors to write, to be a writer, I had very little by means of content to show for the vision. I felt it was my calling, but that slippery gloss of feelings finds tarnish easily, and low readership and lower comments meant I spent my days wondering why I even bothered, to the point that I was ready to give it up.
I hadn't ever quite prayed about my blog before, I hadn't considered a need to. It, like all other deeds, was a kind of worship, but the worship was in the doing not in the preparation for the doing. Silly, for this is wrong, but I never had cause to really evaluate it. At least until that morning, when the thought drifted across my mind and I accepted it was time to be done and either it was a legitimate prayer or God overheard it and decided to interject, because I felt in the deepness of myself the bold whisper that I needed to keep going, for "It will not be like this next year."
Like all things with our Creator, that only makes sense now in perspective. At the time I thought it had to do with other things, the least of which was my blog. But somehow that word convinced me to keep writing, to keep striving, and most importantly to bring a kind of painful honesty to this space unlike I had ever done before. It was time to be vulnerable, to be transparent without fear. Appropriately, I stumbled upon Alece's meme, a challenge to choose a word for the year and intentionally seek God's working in it. Last year, the word came to me quickly: grow.
Become more. Strive for better. It has been painful work, slow work, but I have. This year is a myriad of joys, too many to recount here, but I can say with conviction that I have grown enormously in this season of life, that I have come to a Faith more rooted and frightfully grounded than I have ever known before. This is beauty. Indeed, the words spoken into the quiet of my soul about things changing did come about. Readership here went up. Way up. In September I was offered to be a contributor at A Deeper Story. And just this past October I was approached about writing a book and am presently negotiating the contract. It seems ridiculous, it seems absurd, but so is the agency of grace at the hands of an indescribable God.
But that was this past year. What of next?
I have spent the past few weeks praying about the word I would choose. I wanted something long, beautiful, flowing. I wanted a word that rolled off the tongue and puddled in the soul. I wanted something in French or Latin that didn't quite have a translation into our vernacular, but needed paragraphs to explain just so. And I have waited for weeks for God to bring this word to me, which He did just last night.
He reminded me last night of several months ago in the early weeks of September when I was visiting a friend in Austin to celebrate my birthday. I sat in the light of the early morning on her couch, my Bible in my lap, and I slowly read the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. I dwelled on the words about the coming Christ, the Sun breaking into the cosmic dark, and I pondered what it would be like to have Christ sitting beside me, to talk to Him about Him, about the words about the Word, and as I played at piety He broke in like a quiet fall of rain and said, "It's going to be about trust with you."
I have spent several months thinking I knew what those words meant. I thought it was about this thing, then that, and I subconsciously checked each event against the cosmic scales of trust and doubt, to see if I was weighing the odds in my favor. But, again, retrospect is perspective, and I see now what it really meant.
I am frightened. I am doubting. On what I sincerely believe to be the direction of the Holy Ghost, I have only applied to one place for graduate school. I have one job application. I have a tentative book contract. A tritium of hope that can unravel with a single, "No." Funny, how the cosmos was created by words and our own tiny cosmoses can be so easily destroyed by the same. And while I know that should all these go up in flames there is still God and faith and trust and plan, it does not negate that to live this journey is a wearying thing, a hardship that makes it difficult to breath some days. I don't worry like most people do, I don't sit and think about it and feel anxious. My worry only dawns when friends---and I hate to admit this---sometimes tell me about their uncertainties when they already have so much handed to them and worked out. My eggs, for better or ill, are placed in a small basket of hope. I felt so directed, I felt so called, but even Moses tested I AM as he stood before the burning bush and asked if He was certain. I have taken off my sandals, I have placed my feet on the hallowed ground, but that does not take the tremble from my legs when I consider the consequences of what happens in the after if what I thought He showed to be the direction of after doesn't come to be.
Because then it's a question, quiet but true, that haunts me from time to time. Have I truly heard Him? Have I, mortal that was thought into being, who was in the mind of God when He laid the foundations of the universe, actually heard the voice of God speak within me? When we speak of this in abstracts, quickly, and by running a hand over the details so they smear into blur on the canvas, it's easy to nod simply and say that this is how God communicates. But when you are at the mercy of His words, when you could have perhaps heard wrong and you discover that all application deadlines to other schools are coming too quickly and you may be too inexperienced for the that job or that publishing house could be struck by an asteroid, then comes the terrible test of trust.
I wanted a pretty word. I was given a true one.
So my new word, my One Word for 2012 is a confession as much as a hope.
I never doubt God, but I do so very often doubt myself.
But He began a good work in me, He shall see it to completion. So in a way, to learn to trust that I am truly hearing Him is in a way learning to actually trust Him. It's dangerous, it's easy to get wrong, and I could list too many ways in which this thinking can go awry. But for today, for today I need to simply raise hands in surrender and tell Him that I understand I'm not to understand.
"It's going to be about trust with you."
Yes. Yes it is. Each and every step.