Every year in late December or early January, I ask God for a word to encompass the next year. I don’t use this word like a fortune cookie, to predict the future, but actually as a mirror. At the middle of the year and the end of the year, I look up what my word was for the year and look back to see what God has been up to.
This year, however, the word did not strike a fun cord for me, and I went back to God three different times to see if He’d change it. Every time, He told me “resilience.” I didn’t like the word so much, that I just posted on someone’s Facebook and tried to forget it. I even avoided making my traditional January post.
Have you ever avoided something because you feared the unpleasant? Then, when you finally followed through, discovered it wasn’t that bad after all? Doing dishes is this way for me regularly.
When I thought of the word “resilience”, I thought of bearing up under pain. It wasn’t until today that I read the dictionary definition.
“the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens;
“the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.;
Yet, we are only to March, and you might have heard me proclaim – after eight long years, I am back. I feel like a human again, the pain of the last few years is no longer playing ping pong on my psyche.
There was a time in my early twenties that I avoided church for about six months. When I returned, I expected a long hard climb up the ladder to get close to God again. Instead, from the moment I stood for the first song, God’s Spirit was as fresh and strong as He had been before. There was no climbing back into God’s lap – I was already there.
I feel much the same with my ability to use my gifts. I would expect to have to climb back to ability, yet instead, I find that my abilities have grown in the last eight years, even while latent.
Resilience, it turns out, isn’t the word for the beginning of pain, but the end of a season. It is a good word that provides space to breathe and enjoy what God has done.