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A #Word for the New Year

by Tara Tanner

At the beginning of 2006 my life had completely changed. I had just given birth to my daughter a few months before. As the New Year approached, my maternity leave was coming to an end and I found myself in a whirlwind of working mommy/career woman. I worked a stressful, fast-paced job that had me rising early, working long days, and commuting over an hour. My days left me exhausted. I was overweight, over tired and overwhelmed. And instead of seeking my Savior for rest, I made a resolution that year to seek my own desire to feel better. My resolution for 2006 was to lose weight.

But when it came to losing the weight, I felt like I didn’t have any options. There was no time left in my day to keep my resolution. Do you know what happens when you want to do something desperately, but you think there is no possible way to do it? #Vulnerable #Desperate #Compromise #EasyWayOut

So I’m watching TV one day, and I was given an answer to prayer in the form of an infomercial--And I wasn’t even praying about it. How.about.that? So I picked up the phone and reached out to a total stranger. #WrongPerson

As I’m talking to this random person who could hear the vulnerability in my voice, I was talked into spending way too much money on miracle food. I say miracle because it was going to show up at my door and all I had to do was eat it. Simple. Not only simple, but it totally fit into my busy working mom schedule.

I bought the food along with several lies. One was that I could eat chocolate. I know chocolate, ok. And this? This was definitely not chocolate. It was cardboard. But I ate it. And as I ate the cardboard, I did begin to lose weight. And I did in fact learn some truths too. And as the weight began to come off I felt better physically and made a positive choice to trade in my high calorie lunch hour for a workout. And a few months later, I had dropped quite a bit of weight.

Naturally, people noticed the loss and offered words of encouragement. And asked questions like, “So how are you doing it?” “What’s the secret?” Let me tell you, the secret password is, “cardboard.” I was asked so often that I felt like I was an ambassador for the cardboard diet--this answer to prayer that had never even been prayed for.

#Convicted. Because I found myself in a place where the focus was on me and said cardboard diet. The only changes were made on the outside, and honestly this was never the intention. If there were any spiritual changes inwardly or if I was growing in my walk with the Lord, it was sadly outshined by, you guessed it, the cardboard diet.

If there was one word to describe the year of 2006, one word that described my focus of that year, it was self. Intending to or not, I was seeking my own desires and everything came back to me. And I didn’t like it. So I made another resolution: To not make another resolution ever again. And I didn’t. For six years.

Just before the year 2012 began, I read an article in Guidepost magazine that inspired me to pick a word. Just one word to pray over, to study and to incorporate in my walk with the Lord for the entire year. As I read the article, the Spirit had already begun a work in me; showing me things I needed to change in my life to freely live out my faith and my relationship with Jesus.

My word for 2012 was trust. Because my fears had become bigger than my faith and I trusted myself more than my Savior. And, “We become atheist in practice when we rely more on ourselves than God.” Ouch. It was time for a change. I prayed God would help me trust Him and Him alone. I got into God’s Word and prayed it get into me. Though it wasn’t easy to accept the truth He was revealing to me, once I confessed it, I started to live like I believed the Word. Can I tell you my relationship hasn’t been the same since?

As that year was coming to an end I wanted more. My next word came from a song I loved to sing to Him and pray that He would continue to change me, “From the inside out”. Consumewas my word for 2013. Once I began to take steps that strengthened my faith and practice daily trust with the Lord, I began to put my faith action. And as I began to live out what He has called me to do and purposed for my life, my prayer was to be consumed by His truths and His promises.  And He is faithful, friend. He continues to change me from the inside out. The changes you may see on the outside are direct result of the changes He’s made on the inside.

So here we are. Another year is coming to an end and I want more of Him and less of me. I want to be filled with Him. I want to fill jars as He leads, and I want to fulfill what He calls me to do. To be an ambassador for Christ and point people to Him.

My prayer for 2014 is from Philippians 1:9-11:

“I pray that my love will overflow more and more, and that I will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. I want to understand what really matters, so that I may live pure and blameless until the day of Christ’s return. And be filled with the fruit of salvation—the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” NLT (emphasis added)

Will you pause and consider what the Lord would have you focus on this year? One of my favorite promises from God’s Word comes from Matthew 6:33 which promises that when we seek Him first—His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added. I pray you trust Him to put Him first and trust that everything else will fall into place. I leave you this truth I recently heard,

“The only thing standing between you and the greatest year with the Lord is Hashtag #You.”

Tara Tanner is a follower of Christ, wife & mama, promise claimer, and intentional pauser. Pause with her at thepauseblog.weebly.com, at The Pause Blog on facebook or follow her on twitter @thepauseblog123.