After much deliberation, I’m stuck between two words. I know what God has spoken to me about the direction I’m heading but I’m finding it difficult to identify it in just one word because I desire to be both! My 2020 word was “words.” I spent the entire year paying attention to everything the Bible says about words-what they are for and all the different ways words can be used. As a writer, God has given me clear direction about how He wants to use my writing. I’m just waiting on Him to tell me which platform to use.
My 2021 words are "authentic" and "genuine."
Authenticity speaks of one's true nature and beliefs, or being true to oneself. It's an accurate description and expression of who you really are and being comfortable with that. It also involves not being concerned that others see me too. It doesn't mean that I'm satisfied with who I am but that I accept my weaknesses and idiosyncrasies without condemning myself and that I desire to grow and mature.
Genuineness is more about having a claimed attributed character, being free from pretense and having an open, honest and frank confirmation of who you claim to be.
First and foremost this means to know myself. Over the last couple of years, I've spent much time examining, questioning, analyzing, and praying as I fielded what seemed like an overabundance of curve balls thrown at me. It was an examination of who I have been, who I am currently, and who I want to be. It was an honest look at how much of what I sowed, I was reaping and how much was just the devil trying to knock me off my game, and an acknowledgement of what the Lord had done in me as a result.
So for 2021, my desire is to be an authentically genuine Christian. In terms of these two words together, I want my true nature and beliefs to genuinely be a representation of Christ, without pretense or wishful thinking or being a faith-without-sight statement. In other words, I want to ooze Jesus because that is who He has made me. It's the real me. It's to BE a Christian, genuinely, not just look like one on the outside. Not to just claim that I am one but to be able to naturally respond and react, without having to think about it, in a Christlike way. That is how you know change has taken place. Oh what freedom there is in living this way.
So, how do I get there? It's one thing to know what you want but a whole other thing to know how get there. So what is my plan of action?
It won't happen by reading a bunch of books by other experts who want the same thing.
It won't come through gaining knowledge by studying theological writings of the deep things of Christianity.
It won't come through much prayer and fasting.
You see, what I want comes only one way-through the Spirit's working this in me. There's really nothing I can DO, except yield. I can't change myself. Does this involve reading, fasting and prayer? Perhaps. Whatever I DO though, must be Spirit led and in the Spirit's timing.
My plan of action is very simple. I'm going to stay close to the cross. Everything I need and desire, every blessing, comes through the finished work of the crucifixion and the resurrection. By keeping my eyes on Jesus and my faith in Him alone, the Spirit will be able to reproduce Him in me and truly MAKE me like Him. That is the Spirit's job after all, to glorify and reveal Jesus to the world. And in allowing this work to be done in me, I will be true to myself because I will be true to Christ. I will also be a testimony to the lost.
I won't have to pretend I'm something that I'm really not.
I won't have to claim that I'm something that I'm not in real life.
I won't feel the need to impress anyone with my spirituality and wonderfulness.
I will just be able to be comfortable with who I am knowing that I'm not only accepted but adopted into the family of God. And although I am comfortable and secure, I will never be satisfied. There is so much more of the riches of Christ to know, to experience, and to emulate. It will take more than my lifetime.
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain--
Free to all, a healing stream--
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and Mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.
Written by Fanny Crosby in 1869