Have you picked One Word for 2018? Or made any New Year resolutions?
Deciding what to work on for a new year can be confusing. (See 3 Steps to Choose One Word.) There are so many good things to choose from. How do we know which things will be helpful when we don’t know what the year will deliver?
It’s a mystery.
None of us knows the exact tools we’ll need for 2018.
It can be uncomfortable at best. We don’t want to be unprepared, be caught looking stupid, or miss out on good opportunities.
But at its worst, the mystery can even feel dangerous. We’re vulnerable to the unknown. If we misread warning signs or aren’t ready for new challenges, will our destinies be changed forever?
Anxiety about the future can put pressure on us to learn more, to try harder, to have more self-discipline in 2018 than we did in 2017.
Who can live joyfully under such anxiety?
My One Word 2018: Mystery
Instead of fighting the unknown, I want to team up with it. I’m choosing “Mystery” as my One Word for 2018.
How can I practice Mystery this year?
I’m starting with this: “I don’t know.”
I want to say “I don’t know” more often, not to dumb down what I do know, but to acknowledge there is more that I don’t know. And to make peace with that.
2 Things I Don’t Know for Sure
God is too big for my brain. While we can know many things about God—he is grace, he is beauty, he is love—we know so little. His ways, his thoughts, are beyond our understanding. We shine our brightest when we don’t put words in his mouth, but just let his words come out of ours.
Knowing that he loves me and that I love him is enough. Christ himself is the mystery I know.
“…The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message.”
I also don’t know why most things happen. Why do some healthy people get cancer and some abusers live to 100? Why can one woman never conceive a child while another woman has a dozen kids? Why does God seem to wait so long to answer some prayers yet answer others so quickly?
I don’t know why. Nor do I have to explain it.
“Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does.”
So as I practice Mystery as a spiritual discipline in 2018, I ask God for:
- More peace in the unknown (which is basically all of life)
- Less fear about having less control
- Greater hold on God and less dependency on me
- More freedom to follow the mysteries
God will let me know what I need to know, when I need to know it.
Life Is a Mystery
I’ll still make plans. Even though I don’t have all the details to work with. The outcomes are up to God, not me.
And I’ll still strive to learn more. Even though information isn’t the end goal. More knowledge is a marvel but not a salvation.
I’ll accept that life is a mystery. A beautiful one. Sometimes a startling one. But in the end, always a good one when Love leads the way.
And everything else?
I don’t know.
I don’t have to.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.”
* * *
What about you? Are you a mystery lover already (not me)? Or do you like to know as much as you can (that’s me)? Are you choosing one word this year? Please share in the comments.
Want more? Here’s a short article on Embracing Mystery at Spirituality and Practice.
Previous One Words:
- 2011—Depend and Delight
- Five Links, Books, and Things I Love – January 2018
- Not Just for Christmas – “Come, Let Us Adore Him”