Monday, January 7, 2019

Star Word 2019 - Aspire

This is my third year doing star words and my first year doing them on the actual day of Epiphany, January 6, the day we celebrate the wise men finding Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12).  When we give out the stars, I encourage lots of prayer and pondering, some googling, lots of Bible-searching.  It is my hope that everyone will find new insights from God about their lives with God as they seek God about their words.

My relationship with my own words has been somewhat ironic.  The first year, I got "guidance" and laughed because I thought it was such an ironic word to put on a star.  Little did I know that within six months of receiving that word, my search for guidance would lead me to a new call in a state I had never even visited before.

Last year, my word was "coming" and I scoffed because it was such a simple, mundane word.  But then I realized that "advent" means "coming" and that the expectant waiting about which I had preached for the entire month of December would be my theme for the rest of the year.

This year I got "aspire" and like before my initial reaction was skeptical.  I am distrustful of my own aspirations and goals.  They haven't gone the way I thought for so much of my life, so I don't make them in any formal way anymore.  Maybe God was acknowledging this when my first Bible search turned up Genesis 37:6, "Listen to my dream." These are Joseph's words to his brothers when he tells them about his dreams in which they are all bowing down to him.  The dream does come true, but not before Joseph is tossed in a cistern, and then sold off to slavers, and then sold to a high official in Egypt, and then thrown into prison.  Following our dreams doesn't mean an easy, beautiful journey.

Like all people, I do have hopes and aspirations, and what has helped me make peace with this word, even this early in the year, is finding it in Eugene Peterson's book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction in the chapter on Psalm 131 and humility:

"...the virtue of aspiration--an impatience with mediocrity and a dissatisfaction with all things created until we are at home with the Creator, the hopeful striving for the best God has for us..."
"Aspiration is the channeled, creative energy that moves us to growth in Christ, shaping goals in the Spirit."

Channeled, creative energy sounds like fun.  Growth in Christ is an aspiration I can trust. 

Here's another aspiration I like:

There are lots of books I aspire to read.  One of them is "The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life" by Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander.  Another one is "The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art" by Irwin Raphael McManus.

So we'll see where this goes.  May God guide my seeking and my aspiring so that it all goes according to his will and plans. And may God bless you as you seek him in the days ahead.

(P.S. If you'd like a star word, comment below and I'll send you one.)

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