Isn’t it remarkable how different we all are? I’m struck by this fact almost daily, and the more I look for these differences, the more I see.
A while back, I was talking shop with a friend and fellow homeschooling mama. We were comparing notes on how we each manage our schedules and school time, and as she shared about their creative scheduling, I was amazed at her flexibility and willingness to flow with each day’s mood and needs. Contrastingly, she remarked on my ability to stick with a routine and structure that rarely changes from day to day. I love that each of us has found a rhythm that works for our unique temperaments. Neither method is right or wrong, they are just different; and each is uniquely suited to our individual families.
My tendency to stick with what I know is not just apparent in my homeschooling, but in nearly every part of my life, including my faith journey. Through years of walking with the Lord, I’ve established certain disciplines and practices for how I relate to God. While comfortable in growing within these areas, I struggle to branch out into new faith-expanding territory. Lately, though, I’ve grown convicted to start changing things up.
Let me be clear: God is not inhibited by my imposed limitations. He cannot be boxed in, and I am certain that if God wants to do a new work in me, His will cannot be hindered or thwarted by my own rigidity. But I’ve started to feel God calling me to something new and bigger and different, and I want to follow His direction. I want to remove barriers in my growing connection to God, and I know this will likely require stepping a toe (or perhaps entire limbs) outside of my comfort zone.
In thinking through what this branching out may look like, I first took a look at my practice of choosing a Word for each year. I have not felt led to let go of this practice; in fact, I felt God speaking into this year’s Word selection more than ever before. But what if my orientation to this Word needs to be a little different in 2023?
For the past several years, I have focused on reading Word-related books each season or month. This year I will be less formulaic in my approach to reading Word-related books. I hope to look for God’s faithfulness (and examples of how I might remain faithful) in EVERY book I read, not just specific titles.
Another way I’ve worked out my Words in the past was through themed blog posts. This has been hugely spiritually formative for me, holding me accountable to keeping my Word as a focus while serving double duty as I invite you, my readers, along for the ride. I plan to continue writing monthly Word-related posts this year, but as with choosing books, this will be less formulaic. Some months I may share a book about Faithfulness, or what God has taught me about this quality through a sermon or podcast or song. I may focus in on a specific passage from Scripture. Or I may share a story or lesson God has placed on my heart.
Which leads to this post. I was able to see God’s faithfulness in the very process of determining how I might study, embrace, and emulate faithfulness in 2023. Not once in this process of breaking from rigid rhythms did I feel uneasy or doubtful that God was at work. I could sense His nearness and assurance that expanding upon my tried-and-true spiritual practices would lead to deeper flourishing in my faith life.
I recently heard a pastor say that God delivers his faithfulness in divinely measured and timely doses. He works on His own timeline, offering just what we need and at just the right time. In the past, He has spoken to me through routine; this year, He is demonstrating His faithfulness as I learn to approach Him with less rigidity.
I believe God is a big fan of order: His formulas are written across the seasonal rhythms and the systematic workings of the cosmos. He is also quite fond of creative approaches and new takes on timeless traditions. He is faithful in the regularity of a system and in the boundlessness of flexible innovation, and I will hold unswervingly to Him through it all.