Every year I choose a one word resolution. In 2015 my word was Exceed. I wanted to exceed in every talent God had given me. My goal was to exceed His expectations for me and exceed the expectations of those watching me. I wanted to give Him everything I had and then some. I wanted to give of myself 'til it hurt. I wanted to be like the Israelites who were asked to bring what they had for the building of the tabernacle. They brought such an abundance that they had to be stopped because the blessing exceeded the need. I wanted to pour myself out until God himself said stop.
2015 taught me surrender. Every time I wanted to rest I could hear God say "just a little more". I gave myself until it hurt.
In church service one day we were taught on the tabernacle of God. I was struck by a word on a sign hanging in the room. It read: Abide. All day I thought on that word. In fact, I thought on it for weeks.
It struck me that I had been building something in 2015. I was building my own character. I was learning to sacrifice, to trust, to commit even when it seemed useless. I witnessed miracles and experienced loss and I found a peace that passes all understanding.
I've selected my word for 2016. This year's word is ABIDE.
The scripture I will be meditating on this year is Psalm 125:1 which says:
Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
The word abide in that verse is Strong's # 3427 (yahab) which means to sit down, dwell, remain, settle, marry, continue, ease self, endure, and establish.
In 2015 I was taught to exceed limits and I was stretched to excess for His kingdom.
You learn to trust when you're being stretched. It's hard to give him everything completely and abundantly, but it's so worth it. He is trustworthy and he proved it last year when so many times I couldn't see where he was taking me, but walking in the dark, I found myself above the storms. He built something awesome with each thing I laid down, he built a new Heather.
I really believe that now He is bringing me into a year of abiding, coaxing me to dwell and settle into His presence where He can ease my mind and teach me to just "be His".
This doesn't mean a year of laziness. In fact it's not even close to that. It's a year of steadiness, confidence and unshakable creativity. It's establishment and that means settling in to these gifts he's given me, listening close to his voice, following his leading and making something that will endure.
This year I don't have a resolution to lose weight or stop a bad habit. I simply want to be the person I was created to be, to cozy up in my purpose and abide in it.
I have some specific goals to achieve this:
1. Daily Bible time and reflection (getting quiet before God)
2. Writing a minimum of 274 words/ day
3. Unmovable, unshakable commitment
This is my year!
What's your one word resolution for 2016? Post in the comments.
On Mondays this month we are talking about developing our characters through never and unless statements.
In my novel, When Chicks Hatch, one of my favorite characters is Nicky Bell.
She is a pretty self-centered character with many "never" statements that were fun to explore.
Her biggest never statement was a key point in my plot, but there were several others that I knew, but never openly shared with the reader.
For example, Nicky would never leave her house without being flawlessly put together. She values appearance and takes time to perfect her look. We can see that from chapter one where we read:
Any normal student would have lost sleep--and hair--rushing down the hall, in pajamas if necessary, to get there on time. She had
arrived in red Adidas joggers with snaps up the legs and a form-fitting red top. Her hair was pulled into a ponytail at the nape of her neck, one long strand of hair wrapped around the band. She was even wearing make-up.
Thick, black eyeliner clumped in her lashes, creating a dramatic
contrast to her blonde hair. Her lipstick matched her shirt exactly.
I think this "never" statement adds an "unless" later on in chapter 20. Nicky and her best friend, Jennifer, are fighting and Nicky begins to feel trapped, controlled and overwhelmed.
Her full statement then becomes "I would never leave the house looking ragged or unkempt unless I feel threatened. When I feel weak, I respond emotionally, and sometimes out of character. When I feel powerless in my environment, the things that ordinarily matter a great deal to me suddenly don't mean a thing. I just need to get out of the situation so I can regain my power."
Of course she doesn't say these words in the book, but as the author, I feel she says them to me. She shows hints of this for the reader in Chapter 20 when her best friend's husband, Brad, sees her out jogging after having an argument with Jennifer. I picture Nicky being very disheveled at this point. Brad makes note that she is sweating a lot. Here's that exchange:
“What’s so funny?” she demanded, her hands on her hips.
His hands flew up in surrender. “Hey, I’m just a guy, okay?
Remember, we aren’t supposed to understand this stuff.” He laughed.
“What’s to understand?”
“Hmmm. Where should I start? You’re supposed to relax, and you’re out here working up a sweat.”
“I’m not sweating!”
“You’re sweating. Meanwhile, my perfectly healthy wife is at home crying so hard she nearly threw up. Call me crazy, but I don’t get it.”
“She’s so dramatic,” Nicky said.
Sweating is something that Nicky ordinarily wouldn't let people see her doing. The conversation with Brad is casual, but telling. She isn't thinking about her looks in that moment (or anything else). She's lost control and simply needed to escape in order to regain it.
In what ways are your characters acting out of character? How are they showing their never and unless statements in your story?
Why not blog about it? If you do, be sure to tweet your post and tag me in your response (@HeatherMRandall).
Hop back here every Monday in February to read a new post featuring one of my character's "never" and "unless" statements. If you're a fan of my writing, don't miss it.