For the past couple of years, I’ve asked God to give me a word for the year — one word to focus on, instead of a dozen (more like a hundred) resolutions I just can’t keep, goals I can never achieve. (See My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen.)
In 2012, the word God gave me was COURAGE. I needed the courage to believe that things could change. That I wouldn’t always be in such a dark place emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The word He’s given me this year is RELENTLESS.
Too often I’ve been easily discouraged, easily distracted, easily defeated.
So I’ve been asking God to make me relentless! Relentlessy cheerful and optimistic, full of courage and hope! Relentlessy determined, diligent, focused. Relentless in spiritual warfare, in doing battle with the enemy of my soul.
Because this journey takes both courage and perseverance (relentlessness). We stumble a lot and sometimes we fall. We fail — miserably. At least, I know I do. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit feeling sorry for myself or blaming myself — or God or someone, anyone — or shaming myself, punishing myself for my mistakes.
When what I need to do is stand up, strap on my sword, and get right back to the battlefront.
The truth is that sometimes even my victories have led to defeat, when I’ve become complacent… let down my guard… relaxed. I felt a little too secure in the progress I’d made and failed to realize how far I still had to go.
My favorite passage of Scripture right now is Psalm 18:30-39 in the New Living Translation.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
and He makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
He strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me Your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
Your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
I chased my enemies and caught them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
I struck them down so they could not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.
You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued my enemies under my feet.
Psalm 18:30-39 NLT
I love the “relentlessness” in that last part — “I chased my enemies (fear, doubt, depression — you fill in the blank ) until I caught them. I DID NOT STOP until they were conquered.” Followed by the reminder that of course it’s God who gives us the strength to accomplish this. It’s in Him and through Him that we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) He’s the One who gives us victory.
Just last week I had to face the reality that I’ve gotten stuck in some areas of my life — for at least the last eight or nine months. I’ve been stopping and starting, tripping and falling. Not making any progress.
I could give up — and frankly, some days I do. But I know what kind of woman I will become, if I don’t keep getting up and starting over, if I don’t keep trying, keep fighting… Certainly not the woman I want to be. Definitely not the woman God created me to be.
Instead I’ve written out a Biblical affirmation — full of Scripture references that are meaningful to me — to remind me what I’m fighting for. What these battles in my life are all about:
What kind of woman are you becoming today?
UPDATE: From time to time, I add to my affirmation or declaration — my latest word for the year or phrases from additional Scriptures that have become meaningful to me. Below is the new version, which includes my word for 2015, “REFUGE.” (Also on my Pinterest board, A Woman of Valor.)