Devote: January's reflections on my #oneword365


There are times where words come easily. They flow from my hand to my pen to my paper fluidly and without ceasing. They are beautiful and meaningful. When I read them back to myself, I am often surprised at how they sound and what they say, having been so engrossed in just getting them on paper that I didn't even fully know what was being written. There are other times where bits of words swirl around in my head, and nothing coherent comes from them. I start writing, and stop just as quickly. The thoughts don't make sense, the flow isn't there, the unity and purpose is murky and messy and meaningless.

There are times when I start to write, and realize all that I'm saying is an echo of someone else's words. My sentences are new, my ideas aren't unique, and I'm just spitting out things I've consumed from other places.

Lately, my head has been a jumbled up mess. It hasn't been pretty; it hasn't been fun. I've felt lost in my own thoughts, racing through tangled webs and mazes of too many concepts and not enough cohesion and clarity. My life is busy, yes, and the tasks on my to-do list seem endless, but isn't that true of us all, all the time? That can't be an excuse.

I'm someone who writes constantly, a pen always in my hand, a Moleskine always an arm's length away, ready to be filled with any rambling thought or flowery doodle. And yet lately, I've pushed them away. The date of my last journal entry is days and days past, nothing new filling those grid paper pages I usually love to cover with ink.

How do I get out of that maze of messy thoughts and madness? How do I compartmentalize the many roles I play, so I can be fully present for each? How do I truly devote to each task before me, each relationship, each job, each passion? How do I devote my time to where the Spirit is leading me and not neglect duties and responsibilities and rest and my sanity?

Devote. A word I chose to focus on this year because I knew it would be hard. A word I know requires attention and dedication and intentionality. A word I'm struggling with. January isn't over yet. The month isn't lost. I want to be better at devotion, I want this year to start strong to set the tone for the months ahead. Devote. Oh, I want to do this better.

Lord, show me what devotion looks like. Open my eyes and my heart and my life to ways to devote all that I am and have to the things you've set before me. I want my life to be characterized by wholehearted devotion in 2014. Show me how.

Devote. My #oneword365

New Years is my least favorite holiday. New Years resolutions are some of my least favorite things. Every year, I dislike this day and usually avoid all social media and all the "new year, new me" posts that flood it.

I think it's easy for us to make a list of New Years resolutions (lose 20 pounds! Eat healthier! Go to the gym everyday! Stop drinking soda! Find a boyfriend!) because it's December 31st and we see January 1 as a new beginning. I also think it's easy for those lists to get lost and forgotten by January 6, or February 12, or October 22. We resolve to make change, life gets busy, we forget, and it doesn't stick. The gym gets really crowded for a few weeks, and then it goes back to normal. Whole Foods and Trader Joes have longer lines, maybe McDonalds has a shorter drive thru line, but everything evens out as the year goes on. I don't think New Years resolutions as a list and a lot of self-made promises really work. Maybe for some they do, but it's a lot of hype that I don't buy into.

Why? Because I don't think we need a new calendar year to make change. Because I believe in a God whose mercies are new every single morning and who offers me new grace and new love every single day. Every day is a chance for a restart, for repentance, for renewal.

Check these verses out:

Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

We don't need a ball to drop and confetti to fly as we count down to a new year for there to be a chance for change and new life and new hope for us. What we need is Jesus.

My pastor tweeted it perfectly this week: "@peterbowell1: The Bible's formula for perseverance is not another New Years resolution but fixing our eyes on Jesus. The relationship keeps us running."


For 2014, I'm not making a list of resolutions. I'm choosing to focus my eyes and my heart and my life on Jesus.

As part of the #oneword365 community, I'm choosing to "DEVOTE" this year. That's my one word, my focus, my goal. Last year, my word was "commit." The year before, "beloved."

This year, devote. Devote my time intentionally. Devote my energy wholeheartedly. Devote my mornings to being in the Word more diligently. Devote my weekends to time with friends, time exploring and growing and going on adventures. Devote my life to following the Spirit's leading. Devote my talents to glorifying the Lord. Devote.

Happy 2014, friends. May your year ahead be gloriously filled with new mercies every morning, new hope in our Savior, and new adventures as you follow the Spirit.