Happy New Year, friend— and Happy New Decade! As we part ways with 2019 and forge ahead into the very grandiose 2020s, do you have any goals or resolutions? It has become a practice in these parts to claim “one word” for the next twelve-month period… a word to ponder and pray over as the year progresses. Honestly, I was dying to use “clarity” for 2020 as it was just SO perfect (20/20 vision and all that) but it seems I have another word I am to hold front and center for this coming year:
Perhaps you have dished out the profound wisdom to your children (or even chatty-Kathy adults) that God gave us one mouth and two ears to remind us to talk less and listen more. Generally, we tend not to see the lack in ourselves—but right now I’m seeing it: I need to be a better listener in every area of my life. Starting in 2020.
- LISTEN TO GOD
“Prayer is first of all listening to God. It’s openness. God is always speaking; he’s always doing something.” Henri Nouwen
I’m the first to raise my hand in the air and say prayer is an area I need to work on. I’m grateful for God’s grace and patience with me in this—yet I must be a cause of frustration to Him! Surely, listening is a vital component of prayer, as it is in any communication. My hope for this year is that I learn to make time to listen to the whispers of my Heavenly Father. How about you?
We know He speaks through His Word, through His creation, and through other people—but in order to listen well, we need space. Whitespace. Uncluttered room that allows us to hear from God. That’s easier said than done in this day and age when visual and audible noise threatens to drown out the bliss of silence, so sometimes we literally have to shut it all down and focus our attention on hearing His voice. I’m thinking even five minutes timed silence to stop and sit and listen…
- LISTEN TO OTHERS
“Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Simply being a listening ear to friends, family, neighbours, fellow church members, or complete strangers is such a gift. Letting them know they are seen and heard is one way in which we love one another. It’s part of the heart of hospitality. It’s the moments of mentoring.
Making eye contact, hearing the hard, celebrating the joys, the promise of praying, and doing life together. Our world can be horribly lonely and we are in danger of ignoring the cries for help and the opportunities to encourage each other. I want to invite others in and truly listen.
- LISTEN TO WISDOM
“Listen well to wise counsel and be willing to learn from correction so that by the end of your life you’ll be known for your wisdom.” Proverbs 19:20
How teachable are we? I hope I will be a lifelong learner in faith and family and work as God places teachers, preachers, experts, and mentors in my life—but I need to be intentional about making time in my agenda to grow and gain knowledge and listen to that wisdom in order to put it into practice.
As an author, I tend to spend more time on the output to the detriment of the input. This past year has been rather manic churning out words and books and articles—and as I look ahead, perhaps I need to take in more. Learn more. Improve my craft by listening to those experts and teachers and to the stories happening around me on the daily.
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live (or stopped to listen!).” Henry David Thoreau (my addition in parenthesise!)
- LISTEN TO MY BODY
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
Getting super practical here. If I listen to my body right now after the overindulgence through the festive season, I’m fairly sure it’s telling me to never eat again. Maybe just broccoli. But after year-round physio and treatments on my thumb, neck, and Achilles in 2019 (the curious random results of writing and Zumba) I know I need to listen to the telltale signs my body is whispering and then yelling at me.
Health is something we take for granted until it’s in jeopardy, and so I encourage us all to be aware of the need to exercise sensibly, eat well, and look after our one body. Let’s not focus on the bagging, sagging, and lagging—instead find ways to enjoy what we have been blessed with and be proactive when it comes to fitness, health, and caring for our bodies.
I hope my one word encourages you to listen to the right voices as we head into 2020. And as part of my “listening to others”, I’d love to hear your word for 2020 if you have one. Would you leave it in the comments? 🙂
Every blessing for the coming year,
P.S. For some new year reading, grab your FREE copy of my “20 FICTION FAVORITES” —a collection of my favorite fiction book suggestions, complete with mini-reviews right HERE!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: