Like many of you, I have leaned less toward making resolutions for a new year and more toward choosing a word to become the theme or focus of that year. One of the writers whose blog I receive in my inbox is Margaret Feinberg. In her first post of the year she included a One Word 2018 Download to aid readers in choosing and implementing their one word. You can sign up to receive the download at https://margaretfeinberg.com/.
I knew what my word was before I even looked at her list but as I scanned the rows of words the only one which stood out to me was the one I had already selected . . . DEEPER. My goal this next year is to deepen my relationships with family and friends and with my God. For the last few years I have said that “I’m too old and too tired to speak anything but the truth” to someone else. Conversations which are full of platitudes, masked meanings and false feelings seem a waste of breath to me. I want to hear the truth of your heart, your mind, your soul. Now THAT’S a conversation worth having!
My husband and I have made many wonderful trips together but one of my favorite memories is five days we spent together on our houseboat. Our children were young, he was working long hours and we were in that stage where you fall into the bed too exhausted to talk at night. Our boat was older and needed some repairs and repainting. My mother had graciously offered to stay with our children so we could spend our time working uninterrupted by childcare and supervision. As all parents of young ones know, that is a gift in and of itself!
As I scanned the rows of words the only one which stood out to me was the one I had already selected . . . DEEPER.
I rarely go anywhere without taking a book with me and this work trip was no exception. I don’t remember the title of the book or its author but I do remember that at the end of each chapter there were personal questions for deeper understanding and insight. After we had finished a hard day of work David and I would lie in bed at night and I would ask my husband the questions at the end of the chapters. These conversations led to revelations of his history I had never known, feelings he had never revealed and a deeper awareness on my part of what made my husband the man he was. Going deeper in our understanding and KNOWING of one another was as exciting to me as some of the fantastic and exotic trips we had made.
Perhaps that’s because relationships are paramount to my core value system. I treasure the gift of intimacy in my friendships, of honesty, of knowing the “why” behind the “what”. Spending quality time together is definitely one of my favorite things, whether it’s with a friend, my spouse, my grandkids or my God. For me it’s like the difference between truly savoring every morsel of a delightful gourmet meal as opposed to just stuffing something down to say you’ve eaten. I RELISH good conversations. Those where you offer me a glimpse of your soul and I in turn offer you mine. I consider that level of intimacy to be a sacred space, a gift to be treated with great regard.
My quest for intimacy transfers over to the spiritual realm as well. I love the passage in Psalm 42:7, “Deep calls unto deep in the roar of your waterfalls.” I long to leave the shallow waters of basic belief in God and wade into the wonders, the intricacies, the secrets of the mind of The Creator Himself. I am always so grateful whenever God reveals parts of Himself to me through scripture, a book or even a dream. The more I know Him, the more I want to know Him. It is a craving nothing else can satisfy. And this year I have purposed to experience a DEEPER relationship with the Divine than I have ever known before.
“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”
I recently stumbled across a sermon by British clergyman, Charles Spurgeon, given at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, dated April 11, 1869. His sermon title was “Deep Calls Unto Deep” and is based upon Psalm 42:7. The introduction of his sermon contains an analogy of the spiritual and natural worlds that I loved so much I wanted to share it with you here.
“In the grandeur of nature there are amazing harmonies. When the storm agitates the ocean below, the heavens above hear the tumult, and answer to the clamor; down comes a deluge of sonorous hail or swift-descending rain, attended with peals of thunder, and flashes of flame. Frequently the waterspout, of which David speaks in the next sentence, evidences the sympathy of the two great waters above, and beneath the firmament; the great deep above stretches out its hands to the great deep below, and in voice of thunder their old relationship is recognized; it is almost as if the twin seas remembered how once they lay together in the same cradle of confusion till the decree of the eternal appointed each his bounds and place. ‘Deep calls unto deep’ – one splendor of Creation holds fellowship with another.”
Spurgeon reiterates that we are spirit beings made in the image of God and that something within us calls to what we knew even before we were born. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reaffirms that “eternity is put into the heart of man” and because of that we are innately aware that we were made for more than just this world. One of Spurgeon’s greatest quotes is that “Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”
So I long to go deeper in the richness of that relationship that precedes and will outlast all others . . . my relationship with God. Deeper in awareness and understanding of my fellow man. Deeper in love with those God has entrusted to my care. Deeper in the mines of wisdom and knowledge from where true wealth is derived. Deeper into the journey within myself and deeper into the search for all God has destined my life to be.
I would love to know if you have chosen a key word for this year and if so, what it is. Wouldn’t it be great if we were all able to look back at the end of the year and see how we have become wiser, richer, better human beings? Perhaps one step in that direction is choosing and living out our one word.