My word for the year--the thing I definitely need more of--is patience. Patience with myself when I don't live up to expectations. Patience with my children's development, which seems to take place in fits and starts. Patience when my husband's plans are at a difference pace than mine. Patience with how long it takes to get back in shape when you haven't exercised in way too long. Patience with this process of figuring out where God is taking my "career" (using that term loosely).
I was struck this morning by these words: "The Lord told Joshua, 'Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses'" (Joshua 3:7). Joshua's leadership was a process of becoming. God knew that people wouldn't accept his leadership overnight, and even a striking miracle like the crossing of the Jordan was only a step in the process. It was a beginning, and God would orchestrate the middle and the end for the good of his people.
My life feels like a slow process of becoming lately. College bills are only a few years away now, job offers are not pouring in, and I can't see yet what God is up to in my life. Sometimes I wish the process could be sped up or at least that I could see that everything will work out (by which I really mean work out my way) in the end. But God doesn't work that way, so what I really need is patience. Contentment and gratitude in the waiting. Grace to take each day as it comes, accepting today's manna rather than worrying about how God might provide tomorrow.
I suspect it was a great encouragement to Joshua and the Israelites when they reached the other side of the Jordan River, entering into the promised land, and ate from the land for the first time. Scripture tells us that "No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan." (Joshua 5:12). The thing the Israelites desperately needed to sustain them in the desert--daily manna--was no longer needed in the promised land.
What I needed yesterday may not be the same as what I need today. But I can trust that God knows what I need for today, and he has promised to provide it. This year I hope I can learn a bit more about waiting patiently for God's provision, being as grateful for the process and the meager beginnings as I am for the triumphs and fulfilled promises.
Do you have one word for the year? I'd love to hear what it is!