Although it's been a while since I've "done" a word for the year, when I was challenged to do so for 2020, God quickly presented me with two possibilities: "Centre" and "Ready". I've opted for the former, figuring that if I centre my life and thoughts on Christ, I will also be ready for whatever comes my way.
As I began to meditate on the word centre, I thought it would be helpful to make a list of songs and scriptures I could use in my daily listening and reading. While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, these are some that came to mind, in no particular order:
- Jesus, Be the Centre
- How Great Thou Art
- How Great is Our God
- More Precious than Silver
- There is None Like You
- Awesome God
- What a Beautiful Name
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (because if God is love, I should centre on that fundamental quality of His).
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I also thought about the different areas of my life and how I might centre each of them around the Lord in a way that pleases Him. For example:
Family - I already pray for family members and strive to serve them well, but I can work on serving (making meals, doing laundry, cleaning and picking up after them) without complaint.
Friends - Continue to pray for needs and requests, but commit to freeing up more time to spend with them (sharing a meal, getting together for games or worship and prayer).
Church - Continue to act as our life group prayer coordinator and as a care meal team leader. Maybe take a class through our church's learning centre or see if there's a way to support an ethnic church that meets in our building.
Writing - Keep my word of the year in mind as I contemplate blog posts and personal experience stories. Try to write a devotional every day (or at least once a week).
Work - Centre on Colossians 3:23-24, which says
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Online - Continue leading an online prayer group and actively participate in a couple of Christian social media groups. Take advantage of learning opportunities, watching video teaching on Right Now Media.
Personal - Run a book club that focuses on Christian work. Encourage conversations. Practice scripture-writing and other spiritual disciplines.
These are just some initial thoughts. I welcome your suggestions and ideas!
By the way, a lot of people have been joking that their vision will be perfect in 2020. Perhaps vision is their word for the year. I am totally okay with that, and leave you with this song, which is also an excellent one for centre. May each of us focus on the One who is our life.
You can find out more about Susan Barclay's writing at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com