At the end of each year I carefully and prayerfully search for a word to motivate and energize me. The words deliberate, flourish, write and embrace have been past favored words and have encourage me toward positive changes. By putting a word out there, I hoped to find a way to be a better me. But this year I choose to not prod myself into being something other than I already am. I don't want a word that presses me toward more. In my brokenness and need for approval, the question "Am I OK?" often surfaced in me. I often assumed the answer was "no" because I was really not what I could be.
But there is only One truly qualified to answer my OK-ness question.
Psalm 5 says, "For you bless the God-seekers, O LORD; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
This creates a picture of being encircled and protected by God's favor. His approval, love, acceptance and knowing, hold me completely and suddenly there is no need for more striving. No longer is the question, "Am I OK?" I am Ok because I am completely loved. I exclaim with David in Psalm 139, "...you know me!" "You knit me together in my mother's womb." "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me."
Henri Nouwen writes in Spiritual Direction: "The voices that speak from above and from within whisper softly or declares loudly: "You are my Beloved son or daughter, on you my favor rests." In other words, relax, it's OK for you to be you because God loves you as you are.
My word, then, for 2016 is beloved. It is the truest thing about me. Beloved softens my heart because it is enough; it says I am enough. All the freedom in the world is given within that word and the ok-ness question is no longer relevant. It leads me to risk new things, love freely, work hard, be confident, feel passionate, listen well and forgive, honestly unencumbered by the ok-ness question.
The Message translation puts it this way in Deuteronomy 33:12
God's permanent residence.
Encircled by GOD all day long,
within whom GOD is at home.