What one word would you like to describe yourself? Your life? Your outlook? Maybe it is easier to choose one word that you wouldn't want to use to describe yourself!
My 11 year old told me once that I was lazy. Really. So we talked about how lazy I actually was: getting up all hours of the night to check on/take care of kids, cleaning house, cooking meals, helping with homework, giving baths, volunteering at church, working full time as an elementary school teacher. Lazy. Really? That's what you get when you ask an 11 year old boy to do something on his own. Everyone else around instantly becomes lazy.
Now, my three year old has another word to describe me: meanie. Yes. My children love me so much! Such positive comments. You see, I am the "meanie" when he is only allowed to have white milk or water at bedtime. I am the "meanie" when iPad time is over. I am the "meanie" whenever he doesn't get what he wants. The "meanie." I am ok with that.
As for the seven year old, he isn't much on words. However, I just asked him, and he came up with two: mean and nice. I asked him why I am mean, and his response was, "You should know."
Just call me #1 Mom!
I am ok with being the mean mom if it means that my kids don't always get their way. I am ok with being the mean mom if it means my kids have to obey the rules or show respect to others. I am ok with being the mean mom if it means my kids are learning responsibility and building their character. There is actually a great article out there about being a "mean mom." It is worth the read.
I guess I digress a little. I am thinking about words to describe me, my life, not necessarily how my children see me (although I get some really good hugs and kisses from them, so I guess I can't be that bad).
For the last couple of years, I have joined in the One Word movement, choosing one word to live by instead of making resolutions at the beginning of the year. For me, I have found that one word helpful. I know I am weak. I know I will mess up. So, I find a word that I can go back to, one that will encourage me in all aspects of my life. This year that one word is...
Everything I have, everything I am is a gift. A gift from God. He expects me to use those gifts wisely.
Time is a gift. I can choose what I do with my time. I can choose to veg out in front of the iPad each day wasting time, or I can choose to spend time in His Word.
Money is a gift. I can choose to spend money on junk that my family doesn't really need, or I can chose to spend money on His Kingdom.
Children are a gift. I can choose to allow my children to raise themselves in front of a screen, or I can choose to provide them with opportunities that will help them to become the young men God intends them to be.
Employment is a gift. I can choose to go to work each day doing enough to get by, or I can choose to use each moment touching lives.
Family is a gift. I can choose to do things that take away from my family, or I can choose to put my family first.
Body is a gift. I can choose to eat and drink my life away, griping about my hair and hips, or I can choose to take care of this body that God has given me.
Life is a gift. I can choose to waste my life away, being unhappy, ungrateful, and not making a difference, or I can choose to live a life that brings honor and glory to the One who has given me life.
The fact of the matter is....
Everything about life is a choice. I have a choice about how to live my life. I have a choice about how I respond to life. I can either choose to live this life halfheartedly, only giving what I want to give, or I can choose to live my life fully, giving everything I have to God.
Sometimes it is easier to choose the lesser. It is safer. But that isn't how God wants me to live. I have to be intentional in my living. All to often we make excuses, we look for ways out. We want to be comfortable in our lives. But we must always remember that God never promised life would be easy. He only promises to be there with us as we follow His will. I will be honest, each time I have stepped out of my comfort zone and obeyed God, nothing but great things happened. Intentionally living for Him is the greatest thing any of us can do.
The other day at my house, we were talking about our favorite Bible verses. My favorite is Psalm 118:24. Years ago, I found it on the front of a card at the dollar store. I bought it and framed it.
In September, I had a choice to make. There was no controlling my circumstance. I lay in the bathroom floor, losing my baby. I could be bitter and angry. I could curse what God had done to me. Or I could praise Him. I could praise Him for the husband that refused to leave my side and cleaned me up in my darkest moment. I could praise Him for my friends at work who took care of me as my body began to quake, comforting me and crying with me as I waited for my husband to arrive. I could praise Him for my mom, my doctor, my nurses who cared for me the best way they knew how. I could praise Him for my three healthy children whom I loved dearly. I could praise Him for those that lifted me and my family up in prayer. There was no other choice. God had never failed me, and I knew that there in that cold, dark bathroom, He would not fail me. In that darkest moment, He gave me everything I needed.
That, to me, is being intentional.
I want to live that way more than ever. I want to give my very best to God. He deserves nothing less.
So, this year, I will be more intentional in the things I do, in my living, in my loving, in my giving. My hopes in being more intentional is for my children to see the greatness of living a life that pleases God, giving them the desire to do the same. I hope my intentional living will continue to strengthen my marriage, to show my husband exactly what he means to me, and be the wife he needs me to be. I hope my intentional living will bring comfort to others, show them they are loved, and help them live their lives a little better. Most of all, I hope that my intentional living will bring honor and glory to the one who deserves it, my Heavenly Father.
What about you? Do you have a word to live by this year? I would love to hear it. I pray that as you think about how you want to live this new year, that you would choose a path that leads to God.