Sunday, June 2, 2019

J & K ~ A Joyful Journey to Keep My Word in Focus

A Joyful Journey to Keep My Word in Focus

My word for 2019 is sacred. I am on a journey this year that is a continuation of a journey I have been on for the past 31 years - becoming a sacred vessel to be used by God for His purpose and His glory. Being sacred is about being formed in Christ-likeness with our whole being - heart, mind, soul and body. For years now I have adopted Robert Mulholland's definition of spiritual formation as somewhat of a guideline for my life. His definition is: Spiritual formation is the process of being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others.
  • Process reminds me that life is a journey. Growing in maturity in life and Christ-likeness is a life-long journey. A journey of growing and changing and moving toward wholeness.
  • Being formed in the image of Christ reminds me that my whole being is being transformed by interaction with the Spirit, and I have a responsibility to be ever-growing in practices that enable me to die to my false self and continually grow into the new self that I am in Christ.
  • For the sake of others reminds me that I do not live for myself but for Christ who lived a life of love and sacrifice for the sake of others. 
 Picking my word for this year aligned with these reminders and is helping me "be formed" as I try to live in a manner of sacredness, continually offering my life for God's purpose and glory. 

Our Living Your Word group is using A-Z words to help us focus on living out our word for the year. (You can find info about the group at the end of this post.) Quite by accident, my words for J and K ended up being connected. I was working on a blog post for my J word - joyful - while at the same time I was starting to determine my K word and work on my art journal page. I guess it's not too surprising that my words are connected since this is after-all a journey.

It actually began back in January when I read a quote in a blog post for a health challenge I was participating in.
"Impatience stems from an anxious heart. And anxiety is the adversary of wholeness." ~Alisa Keaton
So as I thought about this quote a passage from Philippians 4 came to mind. I dug into the passage a bit and then decided to memorize it. I've been doing so ever since, which is no small feat for me. I have always struggled with memorizing verses, let alone a passage. But I really wanted this passage to be one that helped me keep my mind focused on prayer and gratitude and the peace of God that results from it.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7 NRSV
Since January I have come back to this passage repeatedly to study and reflect on. Here are some of my study notes and thoughts n this passage.

You can faintly see a map hidden under the gesso on the background of this page. As I turned the page to think about a word for "k", I noticed that the reverse side of the map had the word "anchor" on it. I thought about how an anchor keeps a boat securely in place. God's Word and prayer serve as anchors to keep our faith securely in place. One of the threads that appeared for me in the Philippians 4 passage was that the way to keep anxiety or worry at bay is to keep at prayer. It's so simple, yet I always seem to forget. Prayer and staying in God's Word keep me secure in Him. 

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3
Prayer in Philippians 4 and a mind that is steadfast - stayed on, kept focused on God results in the peace of God - perfect peace - shalom shalom. God's perfect peace is whole, complete, sacred.

Join Our Inspirational Facebook Group: Living Your Word of the Year
Bernice Hopper, Valerie Sjodin and I facilitate a Facebook group about Living your Word of the Year. In it we share insights through blog posts and connect with other like-hearted and like-minded people who want to live out a word focus throughout the year. We offer participants a bi-weekly A-Z Inspiration to help prompt reflection and creativity. as well as other inspirational ways to connect with your word of the year. If you would like to connect with others in creative ways about living your word throughout the year, explore new ideas, record thoughts, prayers, and events, you are invited to join our Facebook group.

Please use #livingyourword2019 on social media.

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  1. THIS is perfect. Thank you. I think I will reread this in the morning as part of my devotional time.

  2. As always, your posts, teachings are soooo timely and speak to my heart. I'm going to share this with my Tuesday Bible study group. Our current study is on prayer.

    And your art journaling never ceases to amaze me and touch my soul! Thank you, dear Mary!

    1. Thanks Pamm! I happy it was as meaningful to you as it was for me. :)