At the turn of each new year, like many of us, I pray and search for my verse or word for the year. Our fearless 818 leader, Rebecca, walked us through a series a few months ago as The Relentless Millennial writers named their "word of the year" or their "theme verse for 2016". I loved reading the posts and enjoyed seeing their expectant hearts as they approached a new year, new season, and fresh opportunities.
For me however, after searching Scripture, praying, and lots of thought, I still couldn't figure out what the Lord wanted to teach me this year, what my verse would be, or even a single theme word.
Now, almost halfway through 2016, as we spend the month here at 818 evaluating how those words and verses are going, I can clearly see what our patient Lord is instilling in me. I also understand why I didn't see my theme for the year at first glance.
At the beginning of 2016 I was ready and willing for the Lord to open up a new world of learning for me, to show me a new theme for 2016 or reveal a spectacular revelation, but what I didn't see at first is that he still had a thing or two to teach me about something I thought I was ready to move past. The Lord has been teaching me contentment, and to be honest, this has been a "word of the year" for me for the last few years.
While the Lord and I are still working through this process of sanctification, I realized that some of you may be in the same boat as me. Your word or theme this year may not have been contentment, but you may be like me and still be walking with the Lord through something for much longer than you care to admit. So when someone asks "how's it going?" you may feel discouraged thinking that it is going so slow you are afraid you have gone backwards. I felt this way this year as the Lord revealed to me that my theme would be the same as last year and even the year before.
God, in His graciousness, though, gave me a verse that has greatly encouraged me. Galatians 6:9 says, "Do not grow weary in doing good for in due time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up."
The truth is, when God teaches us something, it is hard. When God brings us to something we have failed at so many times before it is daunting and it is tiring thinking that we will need to try again and again until we get it. But the beauty is that the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38) will complete in us what He has started (Philippians 1:6), and we will see the reward, whether that be here on earth or in heaven.
So whether the Holy Spirit has just began this work in you of making you more like Jesus, or maybe you're like me and you've been allowing the Lord to root out a sinful habit deep within you for a long time, know that sometimes it will be tough. Often this process of being made like Jesus is difficult and frustrating and sometimes you want to give up - but remember that, through Jesus's grace and His promises, "we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Do not give up or grow weary, God is making you more like Jesus. It will be worth it, no matter what.
If you're willing, here are a few hard (but beneficial) questions to ask yourself as you evaluate how it's going:
Is there a verse or theme in my life that the Holy Spirit wants to change in me?
Is there any area in my life that I have given up on giving over to Him?
How do I need to reevaluate and allow God to grow and teach me in this time?
Remember His grace will carry us through, no matter how hard this journey gets. He will complete His perfect work in you. Don't grow weary, there's a harvest waiting for you.