A Word of Intention
By Mary Pandiani
To start the new year, we read this scripture with anticipation and a promise. The “home of God is with His people” where God’s presence resides with us, no matter what the circumstances. We have the unending flow of God’s fountain, like the original baptismal waters that came from a river, always renewing, always originating from the source of life.
In early church baptisms, a stream ran through the church so the waters were never stagnant. Similarly, as we start this new year we begin again, finding restoration in the living waters that come from the One who makes all things new.
One way to be intentional about the new year is to explore what a “word” might be for the entire year.
Rather than proclaiming a New Year’s resolution that may last for six weeks at the most, listen for the invitation by God for the choice of a word. Listening proves to be more life-giving and honest than assigning some goal or need for accomplishment. It’s a way to explore the intention to have for this beginning again. The discovery of the word becomes more about the integration of being and doing than just the doing.
The process usually starts with dedicating some time to ask these questions:
- What seems to be resonating with my soul right now?
- What are ways I’ve seen God at work as the last year comes to a close and a new year begins?
- What images/pictures come to mind and heart as I take time in quiet to be present to God?
Sometimes it comes through scripture or a poem, or a conversation. Over time, usually a week or more, a pattern emerges that brings some confirmation. It cannot be forced. I wait for as long as I need to wait. One year the word didn’t appear until late March. If I’m honest, there are years where the word sticks and other years where it was helpful but not necessarily profound. If I keep the word prominent in some form, whether in a journal or an artistic expression, I use it as a lens to see the year—a way to stay awake to the ways God is present.
While there’s no formula for the process, it begins with the question:
What is the longing God is revealing to me for this year?
As we say in Selah, if all we can bring is desire, that is enough. Perhaps your “word” begins with expressing the desire to have an intention given by God. Remain open and receptive to what may unfold for you.