January 5, 2011
Approaching the fifth year of PC3s My One Word experiment, I already had a couple words wrestling in my mind as we turned the corner into 2011. And I was getting all too sure about one in particularuntil God waved the flag of a completely different word in front of me.
I knew it was my word because it made me uncomfortable. I’ve found that’s how it typically works, at least for me. (After all, making the changes necessary to become the person we want to be rarely comes easy…)
I had been set on “authentic.” I really liked this word. I’d been thinking a lot about spiritual formation, and it occurred to me that God created me exactly as I am, with purposeful design, and He is the one doing the work inside to make me, well, spiritually formed. If I’m ever striving to be someone I’m not, if I’m ever painting pretty pictures instead of being transparent about who I am, then I’m not allowing Him to work with the real me that He created. I’m creating a roadblock to spiritual formation without even knowing it. This word would be a reminder for me to just be realat all times, in all circumstances. It would also incorporate a quest toward a more authentic relationship with Christ and even a more authentic relationship with my husband. Right on, word! You rock!
This was all well and good until the annual My One Word sermon.
Mike casually mentioned that he and his wife chose a singular word this year, collectively, to promote the “oneness” in their marriageand that’s when it hit me. Not necessarily that I want Trey and I to share a word (as an English major, writer, and former editor, sharing words is a whole new level of oneness we’re just gonna have to work on). But I realized that my words have always been about me, the kind of person I wanted to become or the things I needed to focus on to reach a particular destination of character. And while that is, to a degree, the point of all this, it made me reflect that for the first time, this year, my identity includes being a wife. And that involves another person. That involves working on who I want to be in light of the fact that “I” am now a part of this new entity that God established on our wedding day in 2010.
Thoughts reeling, the Proverbs 31 “wife of noble character” came to mind. Should my word be “noble”? Whoa. Easy, tiger OK, what about “submit,” the primary role of the wife that we learned about in premarital counseling? Through this process of me trying to design my word is precisely when God’s oven dinged, and He served me this hot little word prepared especially for me: “respond.”
Something clicked, and that was it. As a biblical concept, men were designed to initiate and women to respond. The husband’s role is that of leadership, the wife’s is that of a helper. Looking toward this first full year of marriage, who I want to strive to become is the wife that God intends me to be. (Authentically, no less.) This includes keeping myself in a position to respond. To trust in my husband’s spiritual leadership and his leadership of the two of us in general.
“Respond” also encompasses my walk with God. When there is something He asks me to do, when He puts a calling on my lifehow do I respond? Do I respond at all? Do I respond only on my terms? Or do I respond with trust, obedience and gratitudeno matter what? So far in this journey is a truth I have landed on, a board in the water on which I have planted two hopeful feet: If I truly trust His authority in my life, if I maintain an authentic relationship with Him, I have no choice but to respond. It can be a scary thing, committing ones submission to Gods guidance (like when He gives you a word you hope He doesnt rock your world with). But I know there will be spiritual formation in the process. And I can’t wait to see what He asks of me in 2011.