Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Word for 2014

As few and as far between as my posts have been lately, I thought now would be as good a time as any to announce my word and song for 2014.

I assume that people who read my blog have read previous blogs I've written about my weird tradition, but let me explain for any possible new readers.  For the past several years, around Christmas, I have been choosing a word from the Biblical account of Christmas that will set the tone for the following year.  The first word I chose was Joy, then Peace, then Hope, and last Christmas, this year, my word was Glory.  Three years ago, I also added a song to the mix--my "Year of Hope" had a theme song--"My Hope is in You" as performed by Aaron Shust.  This year, my "Year of Glory," my theme song was Jason Gray's "It's Good to Be Alive" which is about giving God glory for your life just by living to the fullest. 

I focus on words from Christmas because, well, Christmas is kind of a big deal for me.  It's kind of my focal point of the whole year.

Honestly, all year I've been kind of worried about my word and song for 2014.  Last Christmas season (and keep in mind, my Christmas season starts in September and runs through about March), I knew exactly what my word was going to be.  I knew what it was going to be all year.  Almost as soon as I picked "Hope" for my  word for 2012, I knew that "Glory" was going to be my word for 2013.  But this year, I had no clue.  I kept thinking, "Well, it will come to me," but by August, I was starting to get worried. 

Then September came, and I was really worried.  I had no clue what the word was going to be.  October came, and I was starting to think that maybe the tradition was over.

...but then one October morning on the way to church, I heard a song on the radio.  It was a newly released song that I'd never heard before.  Usually, when I hear a song, I have to hear it a few times before the lyrics sink in and I decide I like it.  But I only had to hear this song once, and I knew.  I knew this was going to be my song of the year. 

Because one line of the song really stood out to me, and suddenly I also knew what my word of 2014 was going to be.

And actually, a "word" for 2014 isn't really an appropriate description, because it's not a word.  It's a phrase.  It's one of my favorite phrases in all of Scripture, and it's said on multiple occasions in the Biblical Christmas story.

"Don't Be Afraid."

And when I think about it, God's been weaving that theme through so much of my life this past year.  I'd read about God calling Joshua and Israel to be strong and courageous.  I even wrote a blog back near Easter about not being afraid, relating back to the Christmas story.  You would think I'd get the memo then, but it takes me awhile.

I'm afraid of a lot of things--and new fears pop up all the time.  But 2014 is the year I really focus on the command "Don't Be Afraid."  The angels always gave reasons we don't have to fear--and all of those reasons point back to Jesus and what He has done so that we can fully live for God's glory.

The song for 2014?  "Love Alone is Worth the Fight" by Switchfoot. 

"And we'll find what we're made of through the open door.  Is it fear you're afraid of?  What are you waiting for?  Love alone is worth the fight!"

It's a powerful song, but so full of hope.  And that's where I want to be as this year closes and the next year begins.  I want to fight the things that I fear, because the life God is calling me to live is so worth living.  I don't know if I'll succeed in making some long-suffered dreams come true.  I don't know if I'll just keep struggling through with what I have now (which is already more than I deserve--a wonderful life).  I do believe I'll choose joy.  I do believe I'll pursue peace.  I do believe there will be so much hope.  I do believe God will be glorified.  And I do believe it's time to be strong and courageous, to face the Dragons again, to be who God is making me to be just as hard as I can be.  Love is worth it.  Life is worth it.  He is worth it. 

So merry Christmas, maybe a little early for you--but I feel like it's right on time.  "Don't Be Afraid." I gotta make a Christmas decoration with that phrase, because I don't think I'll be able to find one, at least not for cheap.

Oh here.  Enjoy this song, my song of 2014.


  1. Hi Ruth, I read some of your blog entries last night, and felt a breathe of fresh air in knowing there is someone else out there who feels a little crazy sometimes when it comes to trying to understand God's word and personally living his love within their lives.

    But I read your reference in another post to being a fool and God using them to shame the strong and wise, and also read your post about your 2014 phrase being "don't be afraid."
    And I feel compelled to guide you to this other scripture, where wisdom is blessed, and end on the line where "you will not be afraid." You should go read the whole bible verse for more understanding if you wish, but also know that if you are going to put your adventures of god out the world to see, that we should be clear in our words of reference to his ways, as to not be a stumbling block to someone else out there in the world seeking God also...

    So from your "hope" and "glory" words of 2012 and 2013, I hope God continues to guide you in life and may all the glory to the lives we live go to him, The Lord.

    Proverbs 3
    New International Version (NIV)

    11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
    12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.
    13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
    those who gain understanding,
    14 for she is more profitable than silver
    and yields better returns than gold.
    15 She is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
    16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
    17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
    and all her paths are peace.
    18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
    those who hold her fast will be blessed.
    19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
    by understanding he set the heavens in place;
    20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
    and the clouds let drop the dew.
    21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
    preserve sound judgment and discretion;
    22 they will be life for you,
    an ornament to grace your neck.
    23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
    and your foot will not stumble.
    24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;

    Mentally change the "male" words to female or daughter if that with help your understanding, and may he bless your social awkward adventures and your willingness to help others less fortunate in life.

  2. I love the book of Proverbs. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." I think that's even the key to not being afraid of the things of the world. We should fear God and not man. But that's really hard sometimes.

    Anyway, please understand, when I quote 1 Corinthians 1:27, I'm not saying we should go act like fools. I'm not talking about worldly folly, but rather, "the foolishness of God." I'm saying that God is the wisdom inor folly and the strength in our weakness. I invite you to go read a bit in 1 Corinthians.

    If that's not the issue you're having, I'm sorry. I'm just not sure how I'm being a stumbling block, because I believe what I write is Scripturally sound, even if it's not a popular way for even people in Christian circles to think.

    Thanks for your comment and for reading the blog. I've been without a computer, but am getting one soon, and hope to start blogging in a regular basis again.

    1. Hi again,

      Um, I don't know why God chose your blog for me to stop in on for my understanding of him and his lessons for me this day...

      Let me clarify that I don't belong to a Christian circle looking for faults in the usage of his scripture, I'm just a simple person, kind of socially awkward myself, who through God was entertained by your blog entries and stories on grumpy cats, banana phones, your adventure in Romania, to your interest in vision and provision, your interest in words, Disney's Beauty and the Beast cartoon and live performance, to your feelings to intercede in life, PINK rooms, and simply create a blog about it.

      Not realizing or remembering until after the fact, but yesterday, I asked god to give me two things to do I didn't want to do; and engaging in conversation on your blog just happened to be the second one. Like you, I'm not looking for advise, but as it turns out, through Him I did, and I too apologize for any frustrations my words may have caused.

      I still stand by my comment to your usage of the scripture reference, though I wasn't intending to cause you concern like you might have thought.

      I did take your invite to read through 1 Corinthians, and found my personal lessons from God for the day, though I found no "foolishness of God," but rather the foolishness of the divided churches in Corinth. The Corinthian church had many problems, and most of them were the result of pride and placing so much emphasis on social status. Their divisions, lack of church discipline, lawsuits, abuse of Christian liberty and over-emphasis of the gift of tongues, all illustrate this root problem. While Paul dealt with these problems separately, perhaps the pinnacle of Paul’s argument is in chapter 13 where he emphasizes the importance of love. Love of others is incompatible with pride and is to be the fundamental principle that guides all actions.

      1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." But all of Corinthians 13 is pretty amazing and spirit filling!

      I also used your scripture reference from Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" and came to find it also in Job 28:28 and Psalm 111:10.

      I agree that God's wisdom is key to not being afraid of the things of the world, that we should fear God and not man, and that it's truly hard sometimes.

      I also enjoyed listening to your song for 2014, "Love Alone is Worth the Fight" by Switchfoot. So from scripture and songs, love was my focus today.

      Through you, God has blessed me this day, and hope today his blessings dance in you also!

  3. 1 Cor 1:20-31

    Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

    Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."

  4. I boast in the Lord and stand by my comment.

  5. But God sees you enough to have shown you to me!

  6. Okay. I'm not really sure what you're trying to do here, but thanks for reading and commenting.

  7. God said you will not be afraid this year because you asked...
    Back to my first post.

  8. Are you saying that God told ME that I'm not going to be afraid this year or that God told YOU that I wasn't going to be afraid this year, because neither of those things are true. The "theme" of "Do Not Be Afraid" doesn't mean I'm just going to read some Scripture and magically not be afraid. It does mean that I'm going to have to rely on the grace and strength of God every single day to get me through. It means God is working through the process of trust and obedience. Why? Because I'm weak. Why? Because I'm foolish. Because there's no way I'm going to be able to "not be afraid" in my own power. But I believe God's working in me, and that's the source of my hope.

    Again, I don't really know what you're trying to do--argue, encourage, correct, etc.?? You inferred that I'm somehow being a stumbling block, and I'm still not exactly sure why you think that. If you have a problem with "God choosing the foolish to shame the wise" or "the weak to shame the strong," then your problem is with the Apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit, and not with me.

  9. OK... you're frustrated, not me... have a good day, and God Bless! My confusion was not yours, but I didn't create a blog for the world to see. Have a good day and I'm sorry you are frustrated.

  10. I'm not frustrated so much as I'm trying to understand where you're coming from. I don't want to be a "stumbling block." I don't think I am one, but you seem to believe that I'm causing confusion "for the world to see"--but you won't tell me exactly why you think that. I'm starting to suspect you're just one of those people who gets bored and starts causing trouble on stranger's blogs. If that's the case, I have nothing more to say.