Word of the Year - Leslie Mears

Every year, as November-December rolls around, I am excited for God to reveal what my new Word of the Year will be. As I said in my last blog post, choosing a word does not mean it will be applied to my life without challenges or roadblocks. I have found that choosing a word is an act of submission toward what He wants to do in and through me. I have learned over the years that even if it doesn't promise ease, there is a guarantee of adventure with Him in the process!!

The Word God has given me for 2021 is ROOTED. I have spent the past month or so contemplating meanings of this word, verses that include it or a connection to it, and how I can approach the beginning of a new year (especially after 2020 - whew, I'm glad I'm past that one!) and apply what I know so far (because indeed more will be revealed in the months to come) about ROOTS and being ROOTED.

My first thought was, "This year, I wanted to be ROOTED in God and what He has for me first, and then everything else will fall into place." This perspective of the word makes me think of priorities, trusting Him, and being grounded in His Word and His promises.

Psalm 1:1-3 says, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers."

This tells me that being rooted in Him means that I am steady when the winds of outside influences (the wicked, sinners, mockers - could be social media, the national news, or people in my own close circles) attempt to push or pull me one way or another. When relationships with other humans leave me feeling hurt or disappointed, I lean into the one who remains consistent and steady through it all. I can find my Source of replenishment and hydration in His Word. I will not wither; I will yield fruit when the proper season comes. I can trust Him for that.

"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out ROOTS by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8

According to Wikipedia.org, "roots are the organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster."

A tree stands firmly anchored and draws nourishment from the river through its deep root system. When the worries of the world overwhelm me or taunt me with concern or fears, I can depend on the stream of God's provision of all that I need to get me through the hard, the frustrating, the utterly confusing situations around me, and trust that He will relieve all my fears. The heat of the world cannot touch what He has prepared for me when my root system is deeply planted in Him. He will provide the nourishment I need to grow deep into His will for me and grow healthy and "green" because he provides precisely the right "vitamins" to guarantee that I will flourish.

Plants exhibit signs of life depending on their roots' health; without adequate nourishment from its life source, a plant withers and dies. If I am not well ROOTED, I will wither.

"But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no ROOT." Matthew 13:6

A firmly rooted tree in a wind storm will merely sway and bend due to the stress.

When we are ROOTED in Christ, there will be no way that the things of this world or the troubles of this life will uproot us! I remember back in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy swept through our small town in upstate New York, there were many giant trees (I mean like 30 feet tall and two feet in diameter) that were uprooted, simply lifted out of the ground, and laid on their side. The vast and complex root systems didn't hold them in the ground. But there were much smaller trees that stayed steadily planted, grounded firmly in place. I sometimes wonder why those gigantic trees didn't make it. Maybe their roots weren't set in the proper soil. Or perhaps they weren't deep enough. This makes me conclude that it isn't just a matter of seeming tall and steady and healthy on the outside. It is a matter of what we are rooted in and how deeply and securely rooted we are. The health of our roots in Christ depends on a few different factors. The consistency of our nourishment, the steady stream of water flowing into us, the nature of the soil we are rooted in. How strong my faith is, my unwavering and rooted trust that God is who he says he is, and that He will truly never leave me or forsake me.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, ROOTED and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

I am really looking forward to how God is going to grow my roots this year! I will live my life in Him, I will seek to be anchored and built up in Him, and I will become strengthened in the faith because of the rich soil of His Word and His promises. I may sway when strong winds come, but I will not become uprooted. I am genuinely overflowing with thankfulness and expectation for what He is going to do in 2021! Woohoo!

How are your Words of the Year going? We have heard from a few of you and are so excited to see your enthusiasm and investment in this process! If you are struggling to "find your Word," let us know- we'd love to help! If you have found your word, share it with us on Facebook or Instagram or by email!! It's fun to do this in community!

Love you sisters, Happy 2021!


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