Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Word 2011: Hope

With the year coming to a close, I have been reflecting on my One Word for 2011.  In June, I wrote a mid year check in.  Then I realized that I hadn't said all that I needed to, so I wrote about it again.  I was excited.  I had been living out this word and focused on how to do that.  I was learning about the word and what it needs to change in my life.  I could see the changes in me.  I'm not exactly sure what happened between June and today, but I don't feel that way now.  I don't see it changing me.  I don't see me focused on how to live out hope and how to give hope.

Don't get me wrong I do see changes in myself.  I am not the same person I was last school year.  I am more involved and invested in my school and how it runs.  I am more invested in the staff, how to unify them, and how to best benefit the students.  I work more at saying "Thank you" and appreciating the people who are here.  I am trying not to gossip about what I don't know.  So I feel like I am growing significantly at work,  but I don't feel like it has anything to do with hope.  I think it has everything to do with Jon Acuff's Quitter, work the best you can where you are until you can get to your dream job.  That's my summary anyway.  I don't have a dream job out there to chase, but I'm doing the best I can where I am at.  I do feel very different as far as work goes, but I'm not sure this has anything to do with hope.  I feel like I haven't noticed my word since school started again.  I've left it abandoned on the side of the road called work.  It should be obvious that hope is needed in our schools.  I should be carrying it with me every day, but I haven't.  I don't think I have.  I am trying to provide a more positive working environment and structured classroom.  I don't see how that is related to giving hope.

But looking back on a few posts sitting in my drafts folder for a while, I might be seeing a pattern.  They are filled with random thoughts that seem like they should be connected to each other, but they aren't related to hope.  I'm thinking they are actually two different posts.  I think my word for 2012 is mixing with my word from 2011, so the relationship isn't in the words themselves, but the person.  So I've sorted them and I think I have found some more thoughts related to hope.

In John 6:44, Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day."  The Father draws them.  It doesn't depend on us to drag them to Jesus.  We don't do the work on their heart.  People should come to Christ so they can get Christ and God.  This isn't a numbers game.  It isn't about how many I can get.  I shouldn't water down the message to get more people.  I need to get the ones that God draws to himself.  As my husband says, God does the heavy lifting.  Their heart isn't our accomplishment nor is it our failure.  

So what is  my job in this whole giving hope thing?  To glorify God!  Something else I heard recently from the pulpit, the glory of God drove Jesus to the cross.  It wasn't sinners. It wasn't you and me because that is a self centered focus and it is never about us.  It is always about God.  So my job isn't about me or about other people.  My job is to glorify God.  In that process, I should find hope and give hope.  I owe them the Gospel, the true Gospel.  Not the watered down, self-centered one.  Not the "God gives you this and this and this", so have hope.  I need to be giving the hope of the Gospel which is an ongoing life long hope.  I don't need to be focusing on being saved.  Even that word is in the past tense.  We are speaking of a past event.  It isn't a past event.  It is an ongoing event.  It hasn't ended for anyone because we aren't living with God in Heaven yet.  We often use that word about a past event without actually explaining it.  We act as if we have copyright on them and no one else can use them.  But the idea of one past event changing everything for all time isn't what God has in mind.  The explaining of salvation/following Christ/being born again is an integral part of this walk.  It is an integral part of the Gospel.  The Gospel involves discipleship with other believers.

So this brings me back to giving hope.  Giving hope involves more than one presentation of the Gospel and one prayer.  Giving hope is something I need to do for those following Christ and those not following Christ. The work I am doing here at school to improve the staff and the students is giving hope because I am trying to create a better place through the power and gifts God has given me.  Listening to the issues that people have and working through them is giving hope.  They see change and improvement through the process.  They see me participating in that change and I then glorify God by doing the job he has given me to do with the abilities he has given me.  And it isn't just here at work, I do it at church when I am showing and teaching the youth about how to walk with God.  I do this at home when I encourage my husband and when I'm loving on my kid.  So I'm giving hope to others by living out the role God has given me.  I am giving hope by glorifying Him.

I haven't consciously thought of it this way, but I have chosen to work where he has put me and to enjoy it.  I just need to see how my doing that can give hope.  I need to make sure I am giving Him glory and honor for what I am doing.  I won't be abandoning this word in 2012.  I will be focusing on a different word, but I won't be leaving hope on the side of the road.  It will be in my backpack if I need to pick it out and carry it again.  So I think I can say my first One Word has been a growing experience that was mostly successful.  I am looking forward to what 2012 has in store for me.

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